Finding Native things at home
How many things can you find around your house that Native American people had before 1500 AD (before the European invasion)? If you don’t find many around your house, how many can you find in a grocery store or a department store?
Here are some suggestions for your scavenger hunt:
- Corn (or anything with corn in it like popcorn, cornmeal, cornbread,
polenta, grits, coke with corn syrup, tacos, or tortillas)
- Kidney beans, pinto beans, lima beans, string beans, navy beans
- Summer squash, zucchini, acorn squash, spaghetti squash, butternut squash, pumpkins
- Wild rice
- Maple syrup
- Buffalo (bison) meat
- Sunflowers and sunflower seeds (or sunflower oil)
- Venison (deer meat)
- Tobacco (don’t smoke it, just find it!)
- Mustard greens
- Cactus fruit
- Sweet potatoes
- Fish-hooks and fishing poles
- Canoe or kayak
- Pottery jars and bowls
- Lacrosse stick
All of these things are Native American, but today many people in North America use them. A lot of Native American foods, like corn and turkey and sweet potatoes and salmon, became the normal foods of Europeans who moved to North America. Native American sports like lacrosse became popular with European immigrants too. Similarly, many Native inventions, like canoes and snowshoes and anoraks, became normal parts of modern Americans’ lives. We tend to think that Europeans brought their own culture with them and wiped out Native culture, but that’s not right. Actually, Europeans started to do many Native things, and Native people started to do many American things too. Historians call this process the “Columbian exchange”.
Did this Native American scavenger hunt activity work for you? Let us know in the comments!
Further reading about Native Americans