Navajo – History Notebook Pages
We are spending some time studying the Native Americans of the West; we started with a study of the Navajo and Navajo history. I’ll share the resources we used and the free history notebook pages I made about the Navajo.
About a year and a half ago, we did a unit on Native Americans. We covered the Algonquian Indians and Iroquois of the Northeast, the Cherokee and Seminole Indians of the Southeast (and Trail of Tears), but after that we had to move on to another unit.
This summer, we will be taking a trip out West and hope to spend time both in Arizona visiting some of the national parks on (and near) Navajo Nation lands. We hope to visit Canyon de Chelly, Monument Valley, the Petrified Forest as well as Antelope Canyon.
To make the whole experience more meaningful, we’re delving into some history of the West in the 1860s-1890s.
As our spine, we are using Wounded Knee : an Indian history of the American West (affiliate link) by Dee Brown; adapted for young readers by Amy Ehrlich. I read Dee Brown’s classic Bury my heart at Wounded Knee (affiliate link) years ago, but chose to use the adapted version with my kids (they are currently 8, 10, 12).
We read the first chapter, The Long Walk of the Navajo, for this part of our unit. The kids were moved (and saddened).
We also read the powerful book by Joseph Bruchac, Navajo Long Walk: The Tragic Story of a Proud People’s Forced March from their Homeland. (affiliate link) It is wonderful; I definitely recommend this book. It is recommended for grades 4 to 8, but my 2nd grader was riveted by it too. Again, they were shocked by things like the Navajo children being sold as slaves and the description of the walk itself. I would recommend going over the history before reading this version, but it added a lot to our unit.
We are also reading a novel about a Navajo girl on the Long Walk. I’m not sure how I feel about it yet, so won’t recommend it til we’re closer to the end. We also got a couple of books on the Navajo from the library and recommend that you see what your library has on hand because my kids enjoyed pouring through the pictures and maps.
I made the kids some notebook pages about the Navajo as well. These mostly cover the 1860s when the army build forts in Navajo land and then forced them on the “Long Walk” to Bosque Redondo. It also briefly touches on the Navajo Code Talkers of WWII.
We watched the short documentary: True Whispers: The Story Of The Navajo Code Talkers (affiliate link) which is available at Amazon streaming video. It was really good.
We also watched the Ken Burn’s documentary, The West. It covers everything from the gold rush and the rush West, railroads, the extermination of the buffalo, to the Plains Wars and wars against the Cheyenne, Sioux and others.
So, now on to the Navajo worksheets. The packet is 6 pages total. The first two pages have my write-up. The second two are blank so my older two could take their own notes. And, the third set of two pages have fill-in-the-blank sheets that my youngest used.
These are currently free to download. Hope someone can use them! ~Liesl
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:
- A Visit with Pocahontas’ Great (Gr, Gr…) Granddaughter
- Native Americans of the Southeast: Cherokee, Seminole Indians, Trail of Tears
- 6 Native American Picture Books for Kids
- The West: Cheyenne, Sioux and the Plains Wars: Sand Creek to Wounded Knee (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.