Lesson 5: Southeast Native Americans

Getting Started

Questions to Explore

  • How were people in the past dependent on plants and animals in the environment?
  • How do resources from the environment help meet people's needs?
  • How do people within a community depend on one another?

Facts and Definitions

  • The Trail of Tears was a journey taken by the Cherokee when the American government forced them to move out west.


  • Use appropriate source maps to locate communities. (SS)
  • Compare how people in different communities adapt to or modify the physical environment to meet their needs. (SS)
  • Explain the need for leaders in communities and describe their roles and responsibilities. (SS)
  • Locate and describe Native Americans in North America, past and present. (SS)


  • The Cherokee by Danielle Smith-Llera
  • baking powder
  • butter knives* (Activity 5 - optional)
  • can of pinto beans* (Activity 5 - optional)
  • cast iron skillet or baking pan* (Activity 5 - optional)
  • cornmeal* (Activity 5 - optional)
  • drippings, shortening, or oil* (Activity 5 - optional)
  • eggs* (Activity 5 - optional)
  • flour* (Activity 5 - optional)
  • grape juice* (Activity 5 - optional)
  • journal
  • map of the U.S.
  • measuring cups and spoons
  • milk* (Activity 5 - optional)
  • mixing bowls
  • oven mitts* (Activity 5 - optional)
  • pastry blender* (Activity 5 - optional)
  • pot or large skillet* (Activity 5 - optional)
  • red pencil
  • salt
  • sugar* (Activity 5 - optional)
  • timeline
  • unsalted butter, margarine, or shortening* (Activity 5 - optional)
  • wooden spoon

* - denotes an optional material that may or may not be needed


Tell your child that the last region of Native Americans he will explore is the region of the Southeast. Identify the region on the map from Lesson 1. Ask your child what he knows about the region of the southeastern United States. Over the next two days he will focus on the Cherokee.
Reading and Questions
Materials: The Cherokee by Danielle Smith-Llera
Today your child will read pages 4-13 in the book The Cherokee. When he has finished reading, ask him the following questions:
  1. Why were Cherokee towns important?
    The people in towns worked together to gather and share food and would fight together during times of war. The Cherokee believed that people in a town were like family.
  2. How did the arrival of European explorers and traders affect the Cherokee?
    Many Cherokee were killed from war and disease. Some towns were destroyed.
  3. Who was Sequoyah and what important thing did he do?
    Sequoyah was a Cherokee silversmith who created a writing system for the Cherokee language.
  4. What tragic even occurred to the Cherokee in 1838?
    Soldiers ordered over 16,000 Cherokee families to move west. The journey was long and difficult, causing many deaths. It became known as the Trail of Tears.