All resources in Oregon Office of Indian Education

Science: Human Impacts on the Environment: The Salmon Population in Oregon

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Native American people have lived in the area now known as Oregon since time immemorial. During the era of colonialism (beginning in the 1600s)-and even into the 21st century-non-Native people often portrayed the North American continent as a vast wilderness that was virtually unpopulated when they arrived. This could not be farther from the truth. In Oregon alone there were dozens of tribes, each with its own ancestral territory and rich cultural history. There was not a single region of Oregon that did not have an Indigenous tribe or band living within it. Nothing was discovered or “untapped”, but instead well managed as Indigenous stewards of the land. Over time, the environment has been impacted by changes such as an increase in human population, and over consumption of natural resources (freshwater, minerals and energy). This lesson focuses on the impact of dams on the salmon population of Oregon. The activity in this lesson will give students an essential understanding of why salmon are essential to the traditional lifeways of Native Americans in Oregon. It will also highlight the important contributions tribes are making to salmon restoration efforts in Oregon.

Material Type: Lesson, Lesson Plan

Authors: Renée House, April Campbell

Social Sciences: Cultural Assimilation and Indian Boarding Schools

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The U.S. government’s effort to culturally assimilate Native Americans can be traced to at least 1819, with the passage of the Civilization Fund Act. Up to that time the U.S. government’s approach to Native Americans had been one of outright extermination, at worst, or forced removal to reservations, at best. While it would take several more decades to play out, the Civilization Fund Act began an era in which many Euro-American politicians, religious leaders, and cultural reformers would push for the assimilation of Native Americans into mainstream Western culture. Some of these cultural reformers were well-intentioned, believing that assimilation would be the best thing for the survival and health of Native people. For others, cultural assimilation was a convenient excuse to deny tribal sovereignty and to steal tribal land and resources. In either case, these assimilation efforts would have a devastating impact on many Native people, families, communities, and entire tribal cultures. That impact can be traced to one policy: the forced removal of Native American children from their families and their enrollment in Indian boarding schools.

Material Type: Lesson, Lesson Plan

Authors: Renée House, April Campbell

Social Sciences: The Importance of Treaties

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From 1774 to 1871, the U.S. government negotiated hundreds of treaties with individual NativeAmerican tribes. These negotiations were conducted on a government-to-government basis,with the understanding that tribes were sovereign nations with an inherent right to self-governance and self-determination. This lesson will provide students with an understanding of the history and impact of treaty-making between Native American tribes in Oregon and the U.S. government. Thereare six activities.  

Material Type: Lesson, Lesson Plan

Authors: Aujalee Moore, April Campbell

English Language Arts: Indigenous Peoples’ Day as an Act of Sovereignty Part 1

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Throughout the 20th and early 21st centuries tribal nations and Indigenous communities have continued to assert their right to self-governance and sovereignty despite numerous efforts to force them to assimilate. By extension, the purposeful erasure of Indigenous peoples as a living and thriving presence in the current, modern-day world also remains a reality.  Tribal sovereignty predates the existence of the U.S. government and the state of Oregon. Tribalgovernments are separate and unique sovereign nations with the power to execute their self-governance to protect the health, safety, and welfare of their citizens and to govern their lands, air, and waters. One of the ways Indigenous communities have been embodying their right to sovereignty is through the establishment of an Indigenous Peoples’ Day. Indigenous Peoples’ Day serves as a reminder of the contributions, both past and present, of Indigenous communities and tribal nations. In this lesson, students will explore the concepts of tribal sovereignty and self-determination and learn about efforts by tribes and other entities to promote and support the celebration of Indigenous Peoples’ Day. This lesson is meant to be used with its companion lesson: Indigenous Peoples’ Day as an Act of Sovereignty Part II.

Material Type: Lesson, Lesson Plan

Authors: Aujalee Moore, April Campbell

English Language Arts: Indigenous Peoples’ Day as an Act of Sovereignty Part 2

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Throughout the 20th and early 21st centuries tribal nations and Indigenous communities havecontinued to assert their right to self-governance and sovereignty despite numerous efforts to forcethem to assimilate. By extension, the purposeful erasure of Indigenous peoples as a living and thriving presence in the contemporary world also remains a reality. Tribal sovereignty predates the existence of the U.S. government and the state of Oregon. Tribal governments are separate and unique sovereign nations with the power to execute their self governance to protect the health, safety, and welfare of their citizens and to govern their lands, air, and waters. One of the ways Indigenous communities have been embodying their right to sovereignty is through the establishment of an Indigenous Peoples’ Day. Indigenous Peoples’ Day serves as reminder of the contributions, both past and present, of Indigenous communities and tribal nations. This lesson extends the knowledge gained from Part I by asking students to make meaning of Indigenous Peoples’ Day and to explore how advocacy leads to a local proclamation and change.

Material Type: Lesson, Lesson Plan

Authors: Aujalee Moore, April Campbell

English Language Arts: Oregon Poet Laureate

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Elizabeth Woody is a poet and educator of Navajo, Wasco, and Yakama descent and is an enrolled tribal member of the Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs. Woody’s writing focuses on the histories of her ancestors, the rich Pacific Northwest landscape, and the experience of being a tribal member, an American, and a woman in contemporary society. Woody is the winner of the American Book Award. In 2016, she was named the eighth poet laureate of Oregon—the first person of American Indian heritage to hold that honor. Oregon poets laureate are appointed by the governor and serve a two-year term as cultural ambassadors, traveling around the state to share the power of reading and writing poetry. In this lesson, students will explore and analyze Woody’s poetry. Students will have the opportunity to listen to Woody speak about her work and her relationship with language and the landscape. They will reflect on and discuss her perspective and the process by which she writes. Students will also learn a structured strategy for analyzing poetic text and recognizing key themes. Finally, students will demonstrate what they have learned by creating a group analysis and presentation of one of Woody’s poems.

Material Type: Lesson, Lesson Plan

Authors: Aujalee Moore, April Campbell

Health: Identity, Health and Survivance

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This lesson explores the concepts of personal and cultural identity and asks students to reflect on how their own sense of identity might impact their health. The lesson provides a holistic look at the different types of health people experience.  While the lesson acknowledges that discrimination based on identity is an unfortunate fact of life for many people, identity can also be used as a springboard to better health. This concept is explored in the second activity. The lesson also draws on examples from Native American culture to show how survivance and physical identity expression can support a positive experience of health.

Material Type: Lesson, Lesson Plan

Authors: Aujalee Moore, April Campbell

Math: Are We Going to Make It to the Pow Wow?

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This math lesson introduces students to an important element of Native American culture: thepow wow. These are public events in which Native people celebrate and share their culture; honorfriends, family members, elders, and military veterans; participate in singing and dancing; and display traditional skills and crafts. There are more than a dozen pow wows held in Oregon each year, from early spring to early fall, in all regions of the state. Most pow wows are also open to non-Native people. In this lesson, pow wows serve as the basis for a task-rich exercise in which students choose which pow wow to attend and then calculate the related expenses. The lesson allows students to develop their skills in using math for contextual problem solving and to make informed decisions. 

Material Type: Lesson, Lesson Plan

Authors: Aujalee Moore, April Campbell