Indigenous Peoples' Day

Indigenous Peoples' Day

I can describe different Native American tribes.

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Indigenous Peoples' Day

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In this lesson, students learn about various Native American tribes including the Cherokee, Mohawk, Sioux, and Navajo. The lesson includes information about the Trail of Tears. There are also links to other interactive resources where students can explore interactive maps to see what Native American land they live on and to learn more about different indigenous languages.

Learning Objective

Students will be able to detail the journeys of various European explorers and explain how European countries tried to extend their power into the New World.


Ask students to share their cultural traditions with the class. What kinds of foods do they eat or what traditions do their families follow? After this, introduce and define indigenous peoples and Indigenous Peoples’ Day.


Discuss the Trail of Tears and the forced removal of Native Americans from their land. Explain that indigenous people lived all over the United States and they lived in groups called tribes. Begin by teaching about the Cherokee tribe Sequoyah’s writing system. Have students practice saying “hello” in Cherokee. Next, students learn about the Mohawk tribe and the longhouses they lived in. Then introduce the Sioux and explain their use of teepees. Discuss the importance of Sitting Bull and the Battle at Little Bighorn. Finally, students will learn about the Navajo.

After this, have students drag the names of each tribe to the correct region of the country. Students will then click on the link to explore the interactive map and learn about the tribes that inhabited the land they live on. You can click “Go to map” and enter an address in the search on the left side. Then click on the resources to learn more information about that tribe.

Following this, click on the next link to be taken to Google Earth where students will learn about the preservation of various Indigenous languages. Discuss why language is important and why they think these individuals work so hard to pass it along.


Students respond to ten multiple-choice and true or false questions.


Review some of the important Native Americans discussed in the lesson. Have students discuss why they think some people choose to recognize Indigenous Peoples’ Day instead of Columbus Day.

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