Native Humor Lesson Plan

Estimated Time

Two days, depending on time allotted for a possible field trip.

Necessary Materials

  • Computers with Internet Access
  • Printers
  • Scanners
  • DVD copies of the Indian Country Diaries film, particularly A Seat at the Drum, available at VisionMaker Video – http://www.visionmaker.org/icdDVD.html
  • "The Museum of the Plains White Person" by Rayna Green, available here in PDF format
  • The "Caucasian American Education" chapter from the book Basic Skills Caucasian Americans Workbook by Beverly Slapin, available here in PDF format. The entire book is available from http://www.oyate.org.
  • A selection of Native jokes and humor
  • Poster Board
  • Student notebooks

Teaching Procedure

  1. Before beginning this lesson, it is important to find authentic Indian jokes. From this web site, you can download a chapter on "Caucasian American Education" from the "Basic Skills Caucasian Americans Workbook" by Beverly Slapin here in PDF format and reproduce it for your class. The entire book is available at http://www.oyate.org, a wonderful resource for teaching Native issues.
                You can also download and reproduce "The Museum of the Plains White Person" document here. This "proposal" takes a funny look at how Caucasians live from a museum point of view. Also, a good book of Lakota jokes has been collected and compiled by Spuka Sin Win, "Jokes Heard Around the Rez." The best way to find authentic Native jokes is to ask the source, that is Native people. However, research on the Internet may be the only access.
  1. Students need to understand the definition of satire. Have a class discussion where students give examples of literature, movies, commercials or songs that contain satire as a literary element. List those on the board.
  1. Have students research for authentic Native jokes.

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