This time of year, many people study Native Americans and/or the history of the colonies. We have a lot of free resources on the blog that I thought I would highlight again. I also thought I would include some of the books and resources we used along the way. We’ve covered the history and culture of different Native American tribes in different years, so you’ll find that the first resources listed below are more for early elementary and the resources about the Navajo, Sioux and Cheyenne are more for upper elementary. Hope you find something useful!
- Native Americans of the Northeast (Part I: The Algonquian Indians) – In this unit we learned about the two language groups of the Northeast — the Algonquian Indians and the Iroquois and some of the tribes that make up these groups. We spent quite a bit of time studying the Powhatan Indians (who lived in the Virginia). This post has some of the activities we did as we started out the unit:
- We also purchased a book about the Powhatan Indians while we were there and read that over the course of several days, Life of the Powhatan: (affiliate link)When we were studying that period we read Native America on the Eve of Discovery aloud together. (affiliate link) It is by Suzanne Strauss Art. The kids always looked forward to listening to this book. It has a lot of rich detail. She wrote it for Middle Schoolers, but it works well for my kids (who were 6, 8, 11 at the time).
- Jamestown Settlement - If you haven’t had a chance to visit Jamestown (in Virginia) you might this post which gives a brief history of Jamestown and shares lots of our pictures.
Here are some of the resources we used when we were learning about Jamestown.The links below are affiliate links:
Molly Bannaky by Alice McGill — This book was BEAUTIFUL! The illustrations were gorgeous and the story was compelling. This is the story of Molly Bannaky, who was brought to the New World as an indentured servant. She wound up buying a slave, falling in love with and marrying him. Her grandson, Benjamin Banneker became a well known scientist.
Sam Collier and the Founding of Jamestown by Candice Ransom — This story told about the founding of Jamestown from the perspective of one of the boys who came to Jamestown.
The True Story of Pocahontas by Lucille Recht Penner — This added some rich detail about Pocahontas since the other books only briefly mentioned her role in protecting John Smith when he was captured by her father, the Chief of the Powhatan Indians.
Historic Communities: Colonial Life by Bobbie Kalman — includes actual photographs which help bring the era to life.
A Children’s Color Book of Jamestown in Virginia by Priscilla Hunt — This book was 46 pages with a paragraph on one page and a drawing to color on the adjoining page. The history was really rich in detail and I would HIGHLY recommend this for anyone wanting to learn about the history of Jamestown settlement (for early elementary ages).
I would highly recommend any and all of these books (for early elementary)!
- Visit with Pocahontas’ Great (Gr, Gr…) Granddaughter – As we brought that unit (about the Powhatan Indians and Jamestown) to a close, we made arrangements with a friend of mine to have her speak to the kids. She is related to Pocahontas and has numerous Native American artifacts, some of which are more than 400 years old! (She had them dated by specialists at the Smithsonian.) You might enjoy looking through some of the artifacts we got to see in this post:
- Native Americans of the Northeast (Part II, Iroquois Indians) In this post, I shared our Wampum belt project and the printable you see below:
- Native Americans of the Southeast: Cherokee, Seminole Indians, Trail of Tears
When we were doing this unit, we read a novel aloud together called Soft Rain: A Story of the Cherokee Trail of Tears (affiliate link). The kids and I just loved this story. It was the story of a nine-year-old girl who was taken with her mother to walk the Trail of Tears. It really captured the imagination of my kids; they would BEG me to continue reading for the day! It took us about a week to read. (Again, the kids were (who were 6, 8, 11 when we read it together).
- 6 Native American Picture Books for Kids – This post has a number of picture books that are
- Navajo Indians (free printable)
- For our unit, we read the book Wounded Knee: An Indian History of the American West – Adapted for Young Readers (affiliate link) by Amy Ehrlich, Dee Brown (approximately 180 pages) which covered all of these events (and much, much more).This was a powerful book, but it definitely covers some disturbing events so I would pre-read the book if you have sensitive kids. We read the entire book aloud and it gave a really thorough overview of what happened to the Cheyenne and Sioux tribes in the period from 1864 (Sand Creek) through 1890 (Wounded Knee).We also watched a number of documentaries about this period. We watched a number of episodes from the documentary, 500 Nations (hosted by Kevin Costner). (affiliate link) The kids (and I!!) liked these episodes and learned a lot.
Disclosure: Please note that some of the links in this post are affiliate links, and at no additional cost to you, I will earn a commission if you decide to make a purchase.
You might be interested in some of our other American History resources:
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