Native Americans of the Southeast: Cherokee, Seminole Indians, Trail of Tears
I got a little behind posting because it took so long to share our experiences visiting with Pocahontas’s Great-Great-Great (12th Great) Granddaughter. In the meantime, we’ve done another entire portion of our Native American unit. We learned about the Seminole Indians, their culture and removal (for many of them) from Florida. And, we also learned about the culture and tragic history of the Cherokee people.
We started the unit with a picture book called, The First Strawberries : a Cherokee Story by Joseph Bruchac
Then 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.
We also watched an American Experience series called “We Shall Remain.” Episode Three was about the Trail of Tears. The kids learned a lot about John Ross and John Ridge and the episode was done in a way that really helped bring this history alive. I highly recommend it!
Once we finished the episode, the kids filled out some notebook pages I made for them. We covered the history of several of the Southeast tribes. We still used Native America on the Eve of Discovery: The Story of the First Americans (affiliate link) as our spine. It has great information about the culture of the different tribes. We supplemented that with other resources for the history of Indian Removal.
I made some notebook pages for the kids and we went over the information together. There are 8 pages (which include the answers). They are free to download if you can use them:
Also, about that time, we went to the National Museum of the American Indian, which had a wonderful exhibit about Treaties… and about Indian Removal.
For this portion of our Native Americans Unit we used the following books:
Native America on the Eve of Discovery: The Story of the First Americans, Book II (affiliate link) by Suzanne Strauss Art — This book was written for Middle School students. It is full of information & traditional stories. We’re using this as the spine of our Native American studies.
Native American History for Kids: With 21 Activities (affiliate link) by Karen Bush Gibson. This book has really good information about different tribes.
Explore Native American cultures! (affiliate link) by Anita Yasuda ; illustrated by Jennifer K. Keller. Good project ideas for lower elementary. I found it definitely needed to be supplemented with books with more information and actual history, but like the activity ideas.
Soft Rain: A Story of the Cherokee Trail of Tears (affiliate link) by Cornelia Cornelissen This book was fabulous. It really captured the imagination of my kids; they would BEG me to continue reading for the day! It tells the story of the Trail of Tears from a young girl’s perspective.
That’s about it for this unit. Because we spent so much time reading the novel Soft Rain together, we did not do any crafts. We’ll probably do more hands-on activities in the next portion of our unit. Native Americans of the West.
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Disclosure: Please note that some of the links above are affiliate links, and at no additional cost to you, I will earn a commission if you decide to make a purchase.
You may be interested in these related posts:
- Native Americans of the Northeast (Part I: The Algonquian Indians)
- Native Americans of the Northeast (Part II, Iroquois Indians) where I shared our Wampum belt project and the printable you see below:
- Navajo Indians — History Notebook Pages
- 6 Native American Picture Books for Kids