This school year we are studying American History with my third grader. Our history lesson starts with the American Indians and we are reading some intriguing stories like, “Walk the Worlds Rim” and ”Pocahantas”… “Most textbooks start their discussion of American history with Columbus and the European discovery of the New World. Cleary, people had been in America long before Columbus arrived…” So I was glad to start our history lesson exploring the various tribes that inhabitated the Americas.
I am excited to share our craft with you and I want to start off by saying that while making crafts related to other cultures, I try to be respectful. My children enjoy learning about cultures so we have had the opportunity to learn about the different tribes and their artifacts and traditions.
I did look up the term Native American Indian and American Indian to find out if they were the same or if one was offensive. I couldn’t find any real answer though there were lots of opinions out there on the subject since everyone has a different view on it but I did find out that neither term is offensive but there is a strong preference for one or the other. I thought it was well said here on PBS, “ not only are the terms Indian, American Indian, and Native American an over simplification of a diverse ethnicity, but you also show that you listened when they told what tribe they belonged to. … What matters in the long run is not which term is used but the intention with which it is used.” We have similar discussions with the terms Hispanic and Latino. Neither is offensive but you’re bound to offend someone when using either term.
We want to discover all that we can about all the peoples of the world, so here is one of the many activities we have enjoyed.
Some interesting facts to point out about Indians:
- Native Indians lived in lots of different types of homes not just teepees. Google these terms so you can see the various living spaces of the American Indians: Wigwams, long houses (kind of like a log cabin), earth lodges, Adobe (apartment like) homes, hogans…
- The term “Indian” first came from Christopher Columbus who thought he had reached India on his first voyage. So he called them Indians.
- The Native Americans came from Asia, probably in search for food traveling from the North downward to South America.
Interesting facts about the headdress:
- The feathers signified brave deeds in battle.
- The feathers are difficult to earn.
- Also called a war bonnet.
- It’s a mark of highest respect.
- After a certain number of honors won the warrior went out to secure the eagle feathers to add to his bonnet.
We made a war bonnet or Indian headdress from just few items: feathers, beads, felt, pipe cleaners and cereal box. My 9 year old pretty much made this by himself so rest assured it’s really easy to put make.
We also made a teepee to share about the early way of life for the Blackfoot Tribe. I can’t wait to show you how EASY it was to make. We’ve been wearing our headdresses as we read our not so 3rd grade kid friendly book, Walk the World’s Rim to add some fun to our time. Stop by and check out all of our fun Social Studies Ideas at our Pinterest board.
You will need:
At least 20 feathers depending on the size of the headdress
1. Wrap felt around your child’s head to measure how long you should cut your felt.
2. You will cut it was wide as a thick headband and as long as you need it to be tied in the back.
3. We used permanent markers and felt pieces to decorate the head band.
4. I cut a piece of cardboard from the cereal box to secure the feathers which kept them from flying all over the place.
5. Make small holes at the top of the headband.
6. Run the pipe cleaners through the holes up half way and then add a bead and twist the pipe cleaner, add another bead and twist. Add three beads.
7. Secure a feather at the top of the last bead with glue.
8. Glue a feather in between the pipe cleaner beads.
I had him try it on to make sure it was working but we quickly realized the feathers needed some support. So this is where the cardboard from a cereal box comes in.
You can also see his mistakes on the backside of the felt.
We attached some string to each side of the headdress for the feathers to hang. Just make a hole, pull yarn through and glue the yarn around the feathers.