[Episode Summaries] [Oral Histories] [The Songs and the Artists] [Eternal Songs] [Instruments and Innovations] [Behind the Scenes] [Links] [Into the Classroom] [Credits] American Roots Music
People in the Street  
Into The Classroom  

Historical Background
Lesson One
Lesson Two
Lesson Three
Lesson Four

Lesson Four-
The Strength of Native American Music

The following lesson is designed to be used after viewing all or part of Episode Four of American Roots Music. The video segment used in this lesson deals with how Native American music was repressed as part of an effort to "convert" Native Americans to Anglo U.S. culture. It documents the resurgence of various forms of Native American music, as new forms of music flower among various tribes and are performed at inter-tribal pow-wow gatherings. This lesson is appropriate for high school Music or Social Studies classes.


   Students will be able to:
   Analyze and discuss the relationship between music, culture and history.
   Identify and discuss how music can be a tool for cultural survival.
   Understand the role of music in the preservation of Native American culture.

Estimated Time

   One 40-60 minute class period


   Content Standard #9

  • Students identify sources of American music genres (e.g., swing, Broadway musical, blues) trace the evolution of those genres, and cite well-known musicians associated with them
  • Students identify various roles (e.g., entertainer, teacher, transmitter of cultural tradition) that musicians perform, cite representative individuals who have functioned in each role, and describe their activities and achievements
   Mid-Continent Research for Education and Learning    http://www.mcrel.org/standards-benchmarks/docs/contents.html
  • Understand the relationship between music and history and culture (Music).


Episode Four of American Roots Music
To prepare for the lesson, teachers may want to learn more about Native American culture by visiting: http://www.hanksville.org/NAresources/indices/NAhistory.html


   Before viewing, ask students the following questions:

Can you identify certain kinds of music that can be considered dangerous? What is dangerous about music?
What kind of music is associated with your cultural group? Imagine if you were told you would be severely punished if you listened to the music associated with your cultural group. What would you miss by not being able to hear or sing this music?
Why is the music of a cultural group important to that group's cultural identity?

   View segment of Episode Four of American Roots Music, beginning at 23:50, until 39:40.

   After viewing, ask students the following questions:

Why would the U.S. government want to keep Native Americans from singing their own songs and speaking their languages?
Why is it no longer forbidden to sing Native American songs?
What effect has the revival of Native American music had on Native American culture?


Home   |   Episode Summaries   |   Oral Histories   |   Songs & Artists   |   Eternal Songs
Instruments & Innovations   |   Behind the Scenes   |   Links   |   Into the Classroom   |   Credits   |   Reviews
Bring American Roots Music home

© The Ginger Group 2001