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American Indian Perspectives on Thanksgiving

This teaching poster, designed for educators and students grades 4–8, examines the deeper meaning of the Thanksgiving holiday for American Indians through the themes of environment, community, encounters, and innovations. Appropriate for use at any time during the year, the poster includes information that is essential to understanding and teaching about American Indians along with compelling images and ideas for classroom activities.

Resource Information

grades   4 5 6 7 8
Haudenosaunee, Hupa, Inupiaq, Lakota, Muscogee, Navajo, Pueblo, Tohono O'odham, Wampanoag, Yakama
English Language Arts, History, Social Studies
Artic/Subarctic, Eastern Woodlands, North America, Northeast, Northwest Coast, Southeast, Southwest
community, environment, encounters, Thanksgiving, Native American
Essential Understandings More Close

1: American Indian Cultures
Culture is a result of human socialization. People acquire knowledge and values by interacting with other people through common language, place, and community. In the Americas, there is vast cultural diversity among more than 2,000 tribal groups. Tribes have unique cultures and ways of life that span history from time immemorial to the present day.

2: Time, Continuity, and Change
Indigenous people of the Americas shaped life in the Western Hemisphere for millennia. After contact, American Indians and the events involving them greatly influenced the histories of the European colonies and the modern nations of North, Central, and South America. Today, this influence continues to play significant roles in many aspects of political, legal, cultural, environmental, and economic issues. To understand the history and cultures of the Americas requires understanding American Indian history from Indian perspectives.

3: People, Places, and Environments
For thousands of years, indigenous people have studied, managed, honored, and thrived in their homelands. These foundations continue to influence American Indian relationships and interactions with the land today.

9: Global Connections
American Indians have always engaged in the world beyond the immediacy of their own communities. For millennia, indigenous people of North America exchanged and traded ideas, goods, technologies, and arts with other tribal nations, near and far. Global connections expanded and intensified after contact with Europeans. American Indian foods, technologies, wealth, and labor contributed to the development of the modern world.


Academic Standards More Close

Common Core State Standards

Prepare for and participate effectively in a range of conversations and collaborations with diverse partners, building on others' ideas and expressing their own clearly and persuasively.

Integrate and evaluate information presented in diverse media and formats, including visually, quantitatively, and orally.

Present information, findings, and supporting evidence such that listeners can follow the line of reasoning and the organization, development, and style are appropriate to task, purpose, and audience.

Write informative/explanatory texts to examine and convey complex ideas and information clearly and accurately through the effective selection, organization, and analysis of content.

National Curriculum Standards for Social Studies (High School)–National Council for the Social Studies

I. Culture.
Processes–Interpret patterns of behavior reflecting values and attitudes that contribute or pose obstacles to cross-cultural understanding.

II. Time, Continuity, and Change.
Processes–Research and analyze past periods, events, and recurring issues using a variety of primary sources (e.g., documents, letters, artifacts, and testimony), as well as secondary sources.

III. People, Places, and Environments.
Processes–Provide opportunities for learners to examine, interpret, and analyze interactions of human beings and their physical environments, and to observe and analyze social and economic effects of environmental changes, both positive and negative.

IX. Global Connections.
Knowledge–Global connections may be of various types (e.g., cultural exchange, trade, political, economic, or travel).

College, Career, & Civic Life–C3 Framework for Social Studies State Standards

Explain how physical and human characteristics of places and regions are connected to human identities and cultures.