Teaching American Indian Tribal Groups in Elementary
  • Michelle McDonald

Teaching American Indian Tribal Groups in Elementary



Teaching American Indian history, is AMERICAN history. Did you know that a recent report found that 87% of state history standards include no mention of Native American history after 1900, and 27 states don't mention Native Americans in their K-12 curriculum at all. This is a big problem.


If you are unsure where to begin, this printable mini book is an age appropriate way to build an understanding that American Indians have lived in North America since time immemorial. This 23 page booklet will help your students recognize that Indigenous Americans have similarities and differences across the regions. By learning about American Indian history, our students can better understand our world.



This booklet covers & includes maps of the following:

:: Northeastern & Eastern Woodland (Iroquois, Sauk/Fox)

:: Southeast Woodland (Cherokee, Seminole)

:: Plains (Arapaho, Crow, Sioux)

:: California & Southwest (Apache, Navajo, Pomo)

:: Great Basin (Paiute, Shoshone)

:: Arctic (Inuit, Aleut)

:: Northwest Coast (Coast Salish)

:: Plateau (Nez Perc)


Key Concepts:

:: American Indians have lived on the land since time immemorial

:: American Indians are both individuals and members of a group

:: American Indians changed and adapted to the land

:: Tribal groups share some similarities and some differences

:: Trade routes and trading of goods

:: Family structure & role of elders

:: Resilience of American Indians (Europeans, Trail of Tears)


A short assessment sheet is also included with answer key (True/False, Matching, Short Answer)


This booklet includes a color and blackline version. I suggest that you either print a colored version or project a copy under your document camera for your students to see so that when they color their own version they have a guide. I really like to stress that my students color with accuracy, because this shows respect and we are learning about history.



Don't stop here.

This booklet is not meant to be a starting and ending point. American Indian history should be woven into our curriculum throughout the year. I highly suggest that your students learn about your local area American Indian tribal groups. Building a partnership with your local tribal group is one of the best ways for students to learn about American Indian history through present day.


This booklet is aligned with the Washington State Social Studies Learning Standards:

C3.3.1 Explain that tribes have live in North America since time immemorial.

C3.4.1 Recognize that tribes have lived in North America since time immemorial.

G1.3.1 Examine and use maps and globes to understand the regions of North American past and present.

G2.3.1 Explain how the environment affects cultural groups and how groups affect the environment.

G2.2.5 Recognize ways people depend on, adapt to, and modify the environment to meet basic needs.


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