Revitalizing Culture Lesson Plan
  1. Spiral of Fire: Choose one or more segments to watch from Spiral of Fire. 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: "The Cherokee language defines who we are," says Laura Pinnix. "If we will ever lose our language we will not be Cherokee, because the language encompasses everything." Out of the hundreds of languages spoken before contact, only 175 are still spoken by Native people. Of those, only 20 are being taught to children in the home.
Questions for Students: Do you think it's possible for a language to carry an entire culture? What happens when languages die?

Chapter Three
"Language & Culture"

Cherokee Language & Culture

Background for Teachers: One of the teachers at Cherokee High School says, "We're losing a lot of our kids right after sixth grade, especially the boys. The statistics show the high drop out rates. Studies show that it's just lack of self-esteem. They don't know their culture. They're kind of lost. 'Who am I? Am I white? Am I Native American? ' "
Questions for Students: How can you teach a language and culture when the mainstream American culture is so tempting? Bo Taylor says families have to be immersed in the traditional culture. Is that practical today? What do you think of the Cherokee's plan for an educational village where older students will help younger ones?

Chapter Four
"Education"

Education

Background for Teachers: LeAnne Howe is excited to participate in a Stomp Dance with other Cherokee women. LeAnne also says, "For Cherokees as well as all other Indians, the question of identity is tied to the land as perfume is to the rose."
Questions for Students: How important do you think ceremonies and spirituality is to the preservation of a culture? How can there be a spiritual tie to the land when so many tribes have been forced by the government to move throughout history?

Chapter 9
"Spirituality"

Spirituality

 

  1. After students have finished viewing these segments and examining their notes, brainstorm all that students know about culture and display those ideas on a board. What is culture? What exactly encompasses a tribe's culture according to the Native people in Indian Country Diaries? Be sure that students understand culture according to Holm's Peoplehood Model in order to make comparisons as they do their smaller group activities

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