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Culture & Symbols: Native Americans of North Carolina

Culture & Symbols: Native Americans of North Carolina

Author: Kelsey Byrd

North Carolina Essential Standard 4.H.1.1 - Summarize the change in cultures, everyday life and status of indigenous American Indian groups in North Carolina before and after European exploration. 

This lesson explores three different Native American tribes from North Carolina in an Animoto video, and focuses in on the Cherokee tribe in a Glog. Multiple examples of symbolism within the Cherokee culture are illustrated and described, including: the flag, the seven clans, the Sequoyah syllabary, and the role of water in traditional festivals. A Venn Diagram is provided to compare a Cherokee festival to a holiday that we celebrate today. Finally, a link to an article on animal totems is provided, and students are asked to choose 3 animals and explain why each animal could be their totem animal. 

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Follow each part of this tutorial to learn about the different Native American cultures that are native to North Carolina and how they use symbols. There are four parts that need to be completed before you come to class:

1) Animoto Video

2) Cherokee Symbols Glogster

3) Animal Symbols Article

4) Quiz Questions

Animoto Video

Several Native American tribes are native to North Carolina. Each tribe has its own unique set of traditions and symbols. Watch the video for a quick introduction to these cultures and enjoy the traditional drumming music!

Cherokee Symbols

You will need to open the Glog up to full screen by clicking the box in the top right corner.

1) Read through each of the four sections to learn more about symbolism in the Cherokee culture.

3) Click the "PLAY" button in the lower right corner to listen to an example of the spoken Cherokee language.

2) Make sure to click on the river picture in the lower left corner and read the article on traditional Cherokee festivals. Think about how these festivals compare to the different holidays that we celebrate today. Choose one Cherokee festival and one holiday that you celebrate to compare using the Venn diagram. Fill out the diagram with at least 3 points in each section and bring it to class with you.

Venn Diagram


Animal Symbols Article

The following link leads to an article titled "Native American Legends: Native Americans & Their Meanings". Read through the article and think about the questions that it asks you to answer to help you think of animal totem ideas. The list of animals and their symbolic meanings continues on to a second page. Choose three animals that you think represent you and write them down. You can write this on notebook paper, in your journal, or on the back of your Venn diagram. Please bring your list to class and be ready to share! 

Quick Check!

Complete the quiz on the side to make sure you remember the things you need to know for class.  

**what you need to bring to class**

1) Complete Venn diagram

2) List of three possible animal totems