Lesson 3: Northeast Native Americans


Activity 1: Environment of the Northeast

Materials: colored pencils
Ask your child what he thinks winter might have been like for the Iroquois who lived in the Northeast. On the sheet "Environment of the Northeast," he will find some of the plants and animals that lived in the land of the Iroquois. Ask him how the Native Americans may have used these natural resources. His answers can be based on what he has read about the Iroquois or can be creative ways to use the resources to meet the needs of the people. For example, the turtle's shell can be used for digging, pearls from shellfish could be used for jewelry, and cattail reeds could be used to make baskets.

Ask your child to think about ways the Iroquois people may have prepared for the cold winter weather (drying meats and fruit, storing nuts, cutting wood for fires, etc.). Explain that each clan of the Iroquois nation had an animal that represented it. At the bottom of the page, your child will find a list of animals. Ask him to think of a positive trait associated with each animal. Then, ask him to draw a symbol for the animal he would choose for his clan (family) and to explain why he chose the animal.
Student Activity Page
Reading and Questions
Read aloud the Iroquois legend of "The Three Sisters" found on the following activity pages. After you have read the legend, ask your child to read it through again. Then ask the following questions and let him locate answers in the text.
  1. Who was the eldest sister?
    Corn Spirit
  2. Who was the youngest sister, clad in green?
    Guardian of the Bean
  3. Who was the yellow sister, brimming over with blossoms like the golden sun?
    Squash Spirit
  4. Why were the boy's parents upset with him?
    He was spending his time watching the three sisters instead of hunting.
  5. What does this story tell you about how Native Americans felt about the natural world?
    They respected it and saw it as a gift that should be protected.
Student Activity Page
Student Activity Page

Activity 2: Journal Entry

Materials: colored pencils, journal
Look for pictures of growing beans, corn, and squash. Read the descriptions for each one in the "Legend of the Three Sisters" so your child can compare them to the actual vegetables. Ask him to illustrate the three sisters (beans, corn, and squash) in his journal and to record the words used to describe each sister beneath the pictures.

Activity 3: Northeast and Southwest Tribes

Materials: journal
For this activity, your child will compare the tribes of the Northeast with those of the Southwest. Let him select one of the following options.

Option 1

For this option, your child will use what he has learned about Northeast and Southwest tribes to fill in the double-bubble map found on the page "Northeast and Southwest Indians." The two ovals in the center are for things the groups have in common.

Option 2

For this option, your child has to think of a way to compare the Southeast and Northwest tribes based on what he has learned about each group. Let him write the comparisons in his journal.