Revitalizing Culture Lesson Plan

Estimated Time

Four days, depending on time allotted for research, organization and construction

Necessary Materials

  • Computers with Internet access
  • Printers
  • The Diagram of Holms' Peoplehood Model is available here in PDF format. Download the diagram and reproduce it for students.
  • The pages on this web site DVD or a copy of Indian Country Diaries programs available at VisionMaker Video –
  • Selections of books and web sites listed in Recommended Resources below
  • Construction paper
  • Glue
  • Student notebooks

Teaching Procedure

  1. Students will view both segments from Indian Country Diaries, or will research pages on this web site listed below. Students will record in their notebooks their initial reactions and thoughts about A Seat at the Drum and Spiral of Fire. Next, students will write down everything they know about Native Americans, or questions concerning the documentaries. Have a class discussion about their questions or concerns. If students do not have any topics to discuss, item two contains discussion questions to get them thinking about culture:
  1. A Seat at the Drum: Choose one or more segments to watch from A Seat at the Drum.  Below are questions and ideas that students should watch for when they view the program or view the video segments on this web site. Students will need to take notes.

What to watch for:

On the DVD

On this web site

Background for Teachers: In A Seat at the Drum, Mark Anthony Rolo notes that some young, urban Indians are getting interested in their traditional culture, but many of the elders are returning to the reservations. "These elders are the last native speakers," Rolo says, "the last reservoirs of tradition, dance and ceremony. When they move back home, the second and third generations will be completely cut off in the cities."
Questions for Students: What happens when a culture dies?

Chapter Four

Revitalizing Native Cultures

Background for Teachers: At the Creek Nation picnic, Mark meets a man who has only 1/32th Indian blood in his veins. "You're pretty blooded out," Mark jokes. The Creek are one of a few tribes that do not require a certain level of blood quantum to be a member.
Questions for Students: Is blood the best way to define membership? How would you feel to be called a "half breed?" How important was learning the culture to tribes before contact with Europeans? Should people wanting to become tribal members today have to prove their ancestry or prove they know and follow the culture?

Chapter Five
"Politics of Identity"

Blood Quantum

Background for Teachers: There are two factions in the Creek Nation, the modern, urban Indians and the traditionalists who mostly live on the reservation in Oklahoma.
Questions for Students: How important is spirituality to those factions?

Chapter Five
"Politics of Identity"



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