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North American people eating (Virginia, 1600s)

If you’re a teacher, parent, or day camp counselor thinking of spending a week or so on early North America, here’s some ideas other people have found useful:


A Blackfoot shirt made of rawhide with trade beads embroidered on it

A Blackfoot shirt made of rawhide

For girls, a loose poncho shirt and a loose skirt (to below the knees) or loose pants, with bare feet or moccasins, and hair in one or two braids if it is long enough. Ideally the shirt and skirt would be deerskin, but cloth ones will do. For boys, a long loose T-shirt, with loose pants under it, and bare feet or moccasins. Boys with long hair could braid it in two braids, or pull it all up into a high ponytail like the Cherokee.

If you get plain white T-shirts then the kids can decorate them with fabric markers or just magic markers with Native American designs.


For a typical North American meal, you might begin with sunflower seeds and hard-boiled eggs, and then have corn tortillas or tacos with refried beans. A string bean salad would also be appropriate. You could also have sliced turkey or venison (or beef jerky) or salmon, and cranberry sauce, and sweet potatoes. For dessert, cornbread with maple syrup would be good, or blueberries. (This mixes up eastern and western North America, but it’s all North American). If you want to get more adventurous, try making succotash or pemmican.


For games, you could play lacrosse or clunkey (see the Games page). Or if you want a sitting-down kind of game, you could try the Inuit game where each player gets some bones in a bag and you have to reassemble them into the right layout (like a jigsaw puzzle). You could first study the way fish bones go, then draw fish bones on a piece of paper and photocopy it. Cut out the bones and put a set in each person’s bag, for them to reassemble as fast as they can. (Or they could cut them out themselves, if they were drawn on the paper all mixed up.)


* Building a wickiup
* A Scavenger Hunt
* Making pemmican
* Making succotash
* Carving with soap

Bibliography and further reading about Native Americans

More great projects
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