Lesson Two: A Changing World

Focus Questions:

• Where did the word "Indians" come from, and why is it a misleading term?

• How did South Dakota’s first people record their history?

• How does this differ from what we do today? How is it similar?

Imbedded Information in the Student Lesson:

Mitchell Prehistoric Indian Village; cache pit; Christopher Columbus; Arikaras; Mandans; Crows, Cheyennes, Pawnees; Dakota, Lakota, Nakota peoples; oral tradition story; Lone Dog’s winter count


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Beginnings Word Match

Classroom Activities:

     The Middle Missouri People dug cache pits to store food. The Arikaras, Mandans, and other farming tribes did too. In a way, these pits served as early "root cellars." Ask students to bring dried foods from home—beans, rice, fruits, pasta—and have them prepare their own miniature cache pit in a flowerpot or jar. Students can line a clean flowerpot or jar with shredded newspaper; arrange the food carefully in the pot; and cover it with fabric or burlap for safekeeping. Two paragraphs from Lynn M. Alex’s article, "Prehistoric and Early Historic Farming and Settlement Patterns," published in South Dakota History 13 (Spring/Summer 1983): 4-21, provide a good description of how the cache pits were filled. You might read this to the children before they begin storing their own staples. Encourage the children to take the cache pit home; store it in a cool, dry, dark place; and ask their parents to use the food inside to prepare meals.

     This unit includes a picture of Lone Dog’s winter count imbedded in the student section. The student text also includes a winter count that we will be building throughout the following units. The winter count gives students an opportunity to learn about different ways of recording time, and they should be urged to compare it with the timeline that is also included in this and all future units. The Dakotas, Lakotas, and Nakotas did not use a calendar that started in January; instead they recorded a year from winter to winter. As an activity, the class as a whole can keep its own winter count on a bulletin board or chalk board, with the students deciding together what is the important event for each week and an appropriate picture to represent it. The event can be based on the history in the unit or from events in school. And/or you can have the student build personal winter counts. Give each student a big piece of brown wrapping paper and have them tear away the edges to form a circular shape. Or you can have them each bring a brown paper bag that can be cut out in a buffalo or hide shape. Each student can start with a single symbol in the center of the page. Their drawings should represent the most memorable thing that happened in each year of their life. Following the Lakota tradition, students should consult with grandparents, parents, and older siblings about the special events that occurred in their lifetime. You could give students the option of doing a family winter count rather than a personal one. From the center, the drawings should spiral out and around.