The Hohokam

American Indians of the Southwest

Object Type: Video Clip
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American Indians of the Southwest

From the ancient mounds of the Hohokam to today's Navajo reservation, the largest reservation in the United States, the Southwest is rich with American Indian heritage. Students will discover the advanced building styles and unique farming and irrigation systems of the Pueblo People and their ancient ancestors. Navajo sand paintings and Hopi Katsina dolls are shown in a culturally sensitive manner. Students will understand the government policy of assimilation when they hear the story of the Indian boarding schools in terms they can understand. Students will also see contemporary American Indian heroes like Hopi artist Charles Loloma, and Navajo doctor Lori Arviso-Alvord, the first female American Indian surgeon.

Enjoy this brief introduction to Native Americans in the Southwest through folk tales, where they lived, how they lived with each other and how they live today.

  1. Students will gain a greater understanding of the contributions from different groups of American Indians of the Southwest.
  2. Students will understand the difference between sedentary and nomadic people, and realize the impact of these lifestyles on their ability to thrive in The times of European settlement.
  3. Students will realize the importance of culture, storytelling, arts, and the respect for nature in different American Indian groups.

  1. Tell Your Story. Have students work individually or in pairs. Remind students of the story of “Turkey Girl” and the importance of storytelling to the Native people of the Southwest. Ask students to brainstorm an ideal, moral, or lesson that they have learned and would like to pass on to others. Then have students create their own story to teach that lesson. Encourage students to be creative, using illustrations or any other form of expression that will help them relay their message.
  2. Compare and Contrast. In viewing the program, students learned about several different groups of Native people of the Southwest. Ask students to make a chart to compare and contrast different aspects of each group – food, culture, lifestyle, etc. Encourage students to expand their chart by researching additional groups of native people. Once their charts are complete, ask students to consider how and why different groups have survived and prospered while others did not. Discuss as a class.


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