September 27, 2012

Native Americans Day 11: Sub Arctic: Cree

Sub Arctic: Cree
1. Review: We talked about the Chinook tribe in the Northwest Coast region last time. Today we will move to the Sub Arctic region (show on regional map) and learn about the Cree tribe.
2. Map Skills: Compare the regional map to the globe or map today and see what countries or states are in the Sub-Arctic region.
3. Discuss: Fill out the Tribes Chart after reading each section. Have the child listen closely to choose what word to put on the chart. Bold type words are good suggestions. After the chart has been filled out let the child color the Sub Arctic region on the blank Native American Groups Map.
  • Habitat: Sub Arctic The Cree tribe is one of the largest American Indian groups in North America. There are 200,000 Cree people today living in communities throughout Canada and in parts of the northern United States (North Dakota and Montana). There are also more than 100,000 Metis people in Canada. Many Metis people descend from Cree Indians and French Canadian voyageurs.
  • Homes: There were two types of dwellings used by the Crees. In the woodlands, Cree people lived in villages of birchbark buildings called wigwams. On the plain, Cree people pitched camp with large buffalo-hide tents called tepees .
  • Dress: Cree Indian women wore long dresses with removable sleeves. Cree men wore breechcloth and leggins. The Crees also wore moccasins on their feet and cloaks or ponchos in bad weather. By tradition, the Crees wore fur or leather caps decorated with feathers. Cree men and women both wore their hair in two long braids. The Crees painted their faces with bright colors for special occasions.
  • Food: The Cree Indians were primarily hunting people. Northern Cree hunters pursued caribou, elk, and moose, as well as smaller game like beaver and rabbits. The Plains Cree followed the buffalo herds in a nomadic lifestyle. Cree women gathered nuts and fruits, and in southern bands, they also grew some corn.
4. Read: The Cree of North America by Beborah B. Robinson
5. Comprehension questions:
  • What region did the Cree live in? Sub Arctic
  • What kind of homes did the Cree build? wigwams
  • What kind of clothes did the Cree wear? Long dresses, breechcloth, moccasins, ponchos, fur, leather caps, painted and leggins
  • How did the Cree get their food? Hunted and gathered

  • Cardboard
  • Clay
  • Pipe Cleaners
  • Brown Felt
  • Bowl
  • Pencil
  • Thread or Yarn
  • Scissors
  • Hole Punch
  1. Turn a bowl upside down and trace the base of the wigwam on the cardboard or dirt.
  2. Since we can't push the spiked ends of their pipe cleaners "saplings" into the dirt, then we secured them in place with small pieces of of air-drying clay.
  3. Overlapping, wrapping and lashing them together with string.
  4. Continue until you have a wigwam sort of frame, with an opening left in the front for a door. 
  5. Then cover the frame with strips of felt, light brown for the reed mats women would have made, and dark brown for mats of tree bark.
  6. Be careful to leave an opening for smoke from the fire pit to escape through, at the top.
We weren't very happy with the way this one turned out.  We will have to try something else next time.

The Cree Nut Butter
Discuss: Some of the foods that the Cree gathered in the woods were nuts and seeds. Women often made a delicious nut butter to spread on breads.

  • 1 cup of nuts or seeds (walnuts, almonds, sesame or mixed nuts)
  • 2 teaspoons honey or maple syrup
  • metal mixing bowl
  • a rock about the size of your hand
  • mixing spoon
  1. First wash the rock with warm soapy water and let it dry.
  2. Pour nuts into the bowl.
  3. Use the rock to smash the nuts until they form paste.
  4. Add honey or maple syrup to mix with a spoon.
  5. Eat it on bread.  It was delicious, the boys wanted to make more.

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