1.3 Incorporating North Carolina's American Indian history into the K-12 curriculum
Provided by The North Carolina Humanities Council.
No matter how interesting, compelling, and important a topic may be, it can be difficult to incorporate it into the classroom without a clear sense of how the topic fits into the state-mandated curriculum. Fortunately, there are many explicit references to American Indians and multicultural perspectives that could include American Indians in the North Carolina standard course of study. There are also many less obvious (but no less exciting) opportunities for incorporating American Indian history into broader topics in state and national history activities throughout the year.
Explicit references in the curriculum
Explicit references to American Indians in North Carolina or cultural diversity in Grades 4, 5, 8, and 11/12
There are several obvious opportunities in the North Carolina Standard Course of Study to incorporate the study of North Carolina’s American Indian populations. Many goals and objectives for grades 4, 5, 8, and 11/12 include either explicit references to American Indians or references to the experiences and influences of different ethnic or cultural groups, allowing for the ready inclusion of information about North Carolina’s American Indian peoples.
Elsewhere in the curriculum
A sampling of objectives that do not explicitly mention American Indians, but that could be taught using examples and primary sources focused on American Indians in North Carolina
While the objectives mentioned earlier offer obvious opportunities to incorporate the history of American Indians in North Carolina into the curriculum, if students are only exposed to American Indian history when discussing topics that seem most obvious (the Columbian Exchange, the Trail of Tears, or multicultural contributions, for example), they may assume that American Indians were not important to other historical topics such as the Civil War or the Great Depression. It may be worthwhile for teachers to look at other goals and objectives critically and creatively as they consider how they might integrate North Carolina’s American Indian history with broader historical goals and objectives. The ideas that follow are just a few of the ways in which teachers can include American Indians while meeting U.S. and North Carolina history objectives that do not specifically address American Indian themes. The remaining materials in this curriculum resource will provide additional ideas that you might use to include American Indian history throughout the social studies curriculum.
Grade 4 - Objective 7.04
Analyze the effect of technology on North Carolina citizens today.
In the classroom:
While studying the Internet and its impact on North Carolina citizens as part of this objective, students could explore the websites of different communities and organizations within North Carolina to determine how computer technology allows different groups of people to communicate with one another and share information within local communities and with others in the state, the nation, and the world. Students could work individually or in groups to compare and contrast various websites and draw conclusions about how groups are using the Internet, what the impact of their web presence might be, and what impact this technology has had on the group or organization. In addition to studying the websites of non-Indian communities and organizations in North Carolina, students might visit the official websites of the Lumbee Tribe the Eastern Band of the Cherokee Nation, the Meherrin Indian Tribe, the Sappony in Person County and Virginia, the Haliwa-Saponi, the Coharie Intra-Tribal Council, Inc., the Guilford Native American Association, Inc. and the Triangle Native American Society, the Occaneechi Band of the Saponi Nation and others (an up-to-date list of state-recognized tribes and organizations which includes links to websites when they are available.)
Grade 5 - Objective 4.05
Describe the impact of wars and conflicts on United States citizens, including but not limited to, the Civil War, World War I, World War II, the Korean War, the Vietnam War, Persian Gulf War, and the twenty-first century war on terrorism.
In the classroom:
Understanding American Indians’ roles in nationally significant events of the twentieth century can help students see American Indian history as integrated with and important to the history of the state and nation as a whole, while also dispelling the myth that American Indians are a people of the distant past. Incorporating the experiences of a wide range of Americans, including American Indians, into discussions of major events such as wars and international conflicts can help students see how these large scale events had an impact on a wide range of Americans, how people from different ethnic communities have contributed to national efforts in unique ways, and how Americans from different backgrounds have come together to achieve common ends. As a part of their learning experiences related to World War II, students could read “North Carolina’s American Indians in World War II” by Dr. David LaVere/Our State Books from Tar Heel Junior Historian 45:1 (fall 2005), available from the website of the North Carolina Museum of History online in PDF format. This article details the contributions of North Carolina’s Native Americans, including the 321 North Carolina Cherokee who served in the military during the war and the Cherokee efforts to support the war on the homefront. Students can also read the recollections of Lumbee men who served in the war in “Never That Far: Lumbee Men and World War II” from the UNC-Pembroke Museum of the Native American Resource Center.
Grade 8 - Objective 6.01
Identify the causes and effects of the Great Depression and analyze the impact of New Deal policies on Depression Era life in North Carolina.
In the classroom:
The Great Depression had a far-reaching impact on people all over the country. Students can use the Library of Congress American Memory exhibit, “America from the Great Depression to World War II: Black and White Photographs from the FSA-OWI, 1935-1945″ to explore living and working conditions for North Carolinians during this period and gain a better understanding of how this economic crisis affected North Carolinians of all backgrounds. A search for “Robeson County” will yield records for twenty-four photographs, most of which refer to American Indian families near Maxton or Pembroke Farms. You will note that the photographer has, in some cases, identified the people in some pictures as “mixed breed” or “mixed blood,” but there is no detailed information to suggest that this designation came from the people being photographed — the photographer could have been making assumptions instead of relying on people’s self-identification. Students could analyze these photos and other selected North Carolina images from this collection, comparing and contrasting the experiences of people from different ethnic groups, in rural or urban areas, or in different regions of the state.
Grade 11/12 United States History - Objective 11.03
Identify major social movements including, but not limited to, those involving women, young people, and the environment, and evaluate the impact of these movements on the United States’ society.
In the classroom:
When studying the Civil Rights Movement, students learn about segregated schools for African American children and learn about groups like the Ku Klux Klan that opposed civil rights activism. Students often fail to realize, however, that in North Carolina there were also segregated schools for American Indian children and that the Klan also attempted to intimidate other groups of North Carolinians. Expanding our students’ understanding of segregation and of efforts to stand up to white supremacy to include American Indians in North Carolina can create a much richer and more accurate understanding of this era in our nation’s history.
Students can learn more about segregation and American Indian education from “Laying the Foundation: American Indian Education in North Carolina” by Jefferson Currie II from Tar Heel Junior Historian 45:1 (fall 2005) and in the lesson plan by Gazelia Carter on Lumbee education included in this set of curriculum resources.
To learn more about a Ku Klux Klan rally that was thwarted by Lumbee citizens in Maxton in 1958, students could read The Ku Klux Klan in North Carolina and the Battle of Maxton Field by James Currie II. The article appeared in the Tar Heel Junior Historian magazine 44.1 (fall 2004 ).
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