September 27, 2012

Native Americans Day 9: Plateau: Nez Perce

Plateau: Nez Perce
1. Review: We talked about the Shoshone tribe in the Great Basin region last time. Today we will move to the Plateau region (show on regional map) and learn about the Nez Perce tribe.
2. Map Skills: Compare the regional map to the globe or map today and see what countries or states are in the Plateau 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 Plateau region on the blank Native American Groups Map.
  • Habitat: Plateau The Nez Perce Indians are original people of Idaho, Oregon, and Washington State.
  • Homes: There were two styles of Nez Perce earthen houses: oval-shaped longhouses, which could be as long as 150 feet, and smaller round houses. Dozens of families lived together in a longhouse, while only one family lived in a round house. Once the Nez Perce began hunting the buffalo, they began to use tepee like the Plains tribes. Tepees are tall, cone-shaped buffalo-hide houses.
  • Dress: Nez Perce women wore long deerskin dresses. Nez Perce men wore breechcloth with leather leggins and buckskin shirts. Both men and women wore moccasins on their feet. A Nez Perce lady's dress or warrior's shirt was fringed and often decorated with beadwork, shells, and painted designs. Nez Perce Indian leaders did sometimes wear feather headdresses. Nez Perce women and men both wore their hair long, either leaving it loose or putting it into two braids Nez Perce men often styled the front of their hair into pompadours or other styles, and sometimes wrapped their braids in fur. The Nez Perces also painted their faces for special occasions. They used different patterns for war paint, religious ceremonies, and festive decoration.
  • Food: The Nez Perce were fishing and hunting people. Nez Perce men caught salmon and other fish, and also hunted in the forests for deer, elk, and other game. Once they acquired horses, the Nez Perce tribe began to follow the buffalo herds like their Plains Indian neighbors. Nez Perce women also gathered roots, fruits, nuts and seeds to add to their diet.
4. Read: Nez Perce by Richard M. Gaines
5. Comprehension questions:
  • What region did the Nez Perce live in? Plateau
  • What kind of homes did the Nez Perce build? Longhouses or Tepees
  • What kind of clothes did the Nez Perce wear? Deerskin shirts, breechcloth, leather leggins, moccasins, paint, and dresses
  • How did the Nez Perce get their food? Hunted, fished, and gathered

Native American Toss Ball Game
This is a very simple game. You will need an old tennis ball that has lost its bounce or a softball. Draw a straight line in the dirt with a stick. Each player takes a turn and places himself flat on his back, with his shoulders on this line. Place the ball in the palm of the hand. Arm should be outstretched above the head, touching the ground. Player then throws the ball as far as possible. The spot where the ball lands is marker with a stone. The player who throws he ball the farthest is the winner.

Chief Joseph Biography
Read: Chief Joseph of the Nez Perce by Bill McAuliffe

Joseph was a member of the Nez Perce Indians. In 1855 the soldiers called a meeting with the Nez Perce at Walla Walla. They wanted to trade the Indians’ land for blankets and money. Chief Tu-eka-kas told the soldiers that his land was not for sale. For the next 16 years the Indians and the white men lived in peace. When the old Chief Tu-eka-kas died in 1871 the Indians made Joseph their chief.
All but Joseph and four other chiefs signed a treaty to leave their land and live on the Lapwai Reservation in Idaho. In the spring of 1877 General Howard told Chief Joseph that he would wait 30 days for the Indians to move to the reservation. If they would not move the soldiers would come and force them to go. Chief Joseph told the Indians they could not win a fight against the white men. They must go to the reservation.
During the next 30 days the Indians gathered up all their herds of cattle and horses. They headed with them to the reservation. While crossing the river many of the cattle turned and ran back to safety. While Chief Joseph was back gathering the cattle, three of his warriors left the camp and started fires in the settlers homes. Eighteen people were killed.
Joseph had no choice now but to lead the Indians into a war against the Bluecoats. The Nez Perce call the soldiers Bluecoats because that was the color of their uniforms. When the Bluecoats retreated Joseph's brother Ollokot was behind them helping the Indians to win the first battle.
Chief Joseph knew the Indians could not win additional fights against the soldiers. He decided to take the Nez Perce into Canada to safety. Joseph took 700 Nez Perce through the Bitter Root Mountains. The Indians knew how to find roots and berries for food. This helped them move quickly. The soldiers had to carry food in big wagons slowing them down.
While the Indians rested at Big Hole River the Bluecoats sent messages on the telegraph wires for new troops. The new troops were not tired from the chase and they were able to catch up to the Indians. The Bluecoats gave a surprise attack at Big Hole River. The Indians were able to drive back the soldiers, although many Indians died in the battle.
When Joseph started north again he learned the soldiers were blocking his way. He took 40 of his best braves and had them travel in a straight line like the soldiers do. At night the soldiers thought the Indians were soldiers and didn't stop them. The Indians then stampeded the soldier's horses.
The Nez Perce started running again. They had a long, hard travel through the Yellowstone Park. Many grew sick. At the foot of Bear Paw Mountains, just one day's walk to Canada, the Indians begged to make camp and rest. At dawn the Bluecoats surrounded the Indians and began attacking. Joseph told his people to take cover on the hillside when the soldiers started to attack.
Fighting continued the next day. Many Nez Perce were killed. When help did not come Joseph raised the white flag. At sunset Chief Joseph handed over his gun to General Howard and said he could stand no more fighting.
The Indians were moved from place to place over the next years. They lived in Dakota then in Kansas and Oklahoma. Chief Joseph kept his word and never fought again. He became a spokesman for his people.

A biography is simply the story of a life. Biographies can be just a few sentences long, or they can fill an entire book—or two. They can be very short that tell the basic facts of someone's life and importance, or they can be longer that include that basic information of course, with a lot more detail, but they also tell a good story.
Biographies are usually about a famous person, but a biography of an ordinary person can tell us a lot about a particular time and place. They are often about historical figures, but they can also be about people still living today. Many biographies are written in chronological order. Others focus on specific topics or accomplishments.
Biographers use primary and secondary sources. Primary sources are things like letters, diaries, or newspaper articles; and secondary sources include other biographies, reference books, or histories that provide information about the subject of the biography.

To write a biography you should:
1. Select a person you are interested in and find out the basic facts of that person's life. Start with the encyclopedia or almanac.
2. Think about what else you would like to know about the person, and what parts of the life you want to write most about. Some questions you might want to think about include:
  • What makes this person special or interesting?
  • What kind of effect did he or she have on the world? other people?
  • What are the adjectives you would most use to describe the person?
  • Would the world be better or worse if this person hadn't lived? How and why?
3. Do additional research at your library or on the Internet to find information that helps you answer these questions and tell an interesting story.
4. Write your biography.

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