Native American Culture and History
Dr. Ava L. McCall
● Books for Adolescents and Children
● Books and Curriculum Units for Teachers
Books for Adolescents and Children
Annino, J. G. (2010). She sang promise: The story of Betty Mae Jumper, Seminole tribal leader.
Washington DC: National Geographic.
The text is a biography of Betty Mae Jumper from her birth in 1923 through her election
as Seminole Tribal Chairman in 1967. The author gives additional background on Betty
Mae at the end of the book, along with an explanation for why she wrote the book, a
glossary of important words, and resources used in writing the text. The author
emphasizes the importance of Betty Mae’s mother and grandmother who sang to her
stories of the Seminole people, teach her how to plant food and find plants used as
medicine, and protect her when elders want to throw her in the swamps because of her
“bad spirits.” When Betty Mae discovers the importance of reading, she begs to go to
school, and attends the Cherokee Indian Boarding School and finishes nurse’s training at
the Kiowa Teaching Hospital. She returns to help her people with health issues, finds
truant children and returns them to school, helps set up a Tribal Council and the Seminole
Indian News in 1961 and serves as an interpreter for her people in courtrooms and
hospitals. Ultimately, she serves her people as Tribal Chairman, one of the first female
tribal leaders in modern history.
Ancona, G. (1993). Powwow. New York: Harcourt Brace.
This beautiful picture book explains the historical antecedents of powwows with their
link to dances done around war, hunting, religious ceremonies, honoring individuals, and
initiating members into tribal organizations. Now powwows provide a time for building
friendships. The author focuses on a powwow on the Crow Reservation in Montana in
which several tribes participate, including Ojibwa. Teepees are set up for the participants
to stay in. The author provides clear descriptions and pictures of the different types of
female dancers (traditional, fancy shawl, and jingle-dance) and male dancers (traditional,
fancy, and grass), the special clothing worn, and the unique dance each type of dancer
does. The text also includes the importance of the drum in powwows and a description of
an honoring ceremony and an introduction ceremony which occurred at this powwow.
Several photographs show geometric beadwork on powwow clothing, which is
characteristic of plains tribes, and floral beadwork on clothing, which traditionally adorns
powwow clothing of woodlands tribes.
Braine, S. (1995). Drumbeat. . . heartbeat: A celebration of the powwow. Minneapolis: Lerner.
In this text the author describes her return home to Lame Deer, Montana for the annual
Fourth of July Northern Cheyenne Powwow and the importance of the powwow to her.
She elaborates on the different definitions and purposes of the powwow--giving thanks,
celebrating, meeting friends, sharing our cultures, honoring each other and ancestors'
spirits, and honoring animals and birds. Powwows take place all over the United States
and Canada and sometimes in Europe and the Far East and most frequently in summer,
although they occur throughout the year. The author emphasizes the importance of
powwows for Native Americans who do not live on reservations to return to see friends
and family. Helpful information is given about the significance of the powwow
announcer, the different categories of dancers, their clothing and type of dance, the drum,
singers, and their songs. The author includes photographs of beautiful geometric and
floral beadwork on the powwow clothing.
Bruchac, J. (2018). Two roads. New York: Dial Books for Young Readers.
The novel portrays the contradictory nature of Indian Boarding Schools. They were
designed to extinguish Native American culture among children and youth, but the
fictional Challagi Indian Board School in the book became the place where Cal, the main
character, learned about his history and heritage as a Creek through his informal
interactions with other Creek boys. Indian boarding schools took Native children and
youth away from their families, punished them if they spoke their Native languages, cut
their hair, took away their Native clothing, and often inflicted abuse and harsh
punishment. However, Native students used the schools to confirm their Native identity
through interactions with other students. They also gained some skills to help them
survive economically. The novel also portrays the hardships of the Great Depression in
1932 when families lost their farms and homes and some became hoboes, like Cal and his
father when they lost their farm and Cal’s mother died. Readers learn about the “ethical
code” which Cal and his father and other hoboes followed, which included such rules as:
“Decide your own life, do not let another person run or rule you,” “Try to be a gentleman
at all times,” and “Help your fellow hoboes whenever and wherever needed; you may
need their help one day.” The novel is engaging and informative and the author
contributes additional background information on the book in the “Afterword.”
Demos, J. (1995). The tried and the true: Native American women confronting colonization.
New York: Oxford University Press.
The primary value of this text is the brief history of Native American women's roles,
power and significant contributions to their nations. The author focuses on women of four
tribes: The Puebloans of the Southwest; the Iroquois of the northeast woodlands; the
fur-trading tribes (including the Ojibwas) near the Great Lakes; and the Cherokees of the
interior Southeast. Iroquois women enjoyed considerable power, influence, and
responsibility. When they married, they lived in the wife's longhouse, children belonged
to the mother's family and inherited property from this family. Women owned land and
the crops grown, but were also responsible for providing for their children, relatives, and
community. Although Iroquois men were the primary actors in war, women still had a
voice in decisions about war. Despite the hardships following the American Revolution,
Iroquois women still farmed and produced crafts while men's activities (hunting, trading,
dealing with outsiders, and fighting in war) were significantly changed. Ojibwa women
were involved in the fur trade by providing food for their families and traders, by cleaning
and cutting furs, by helping to make canoes for traveling, by serving as guides or
interpreters for traders, by trading furs themselves, and by marrying fur traders. Native
American women from different nations preserved their culture, in part by continuing the
art traditions of their ancestors despite European influence.
Dennis, Y. W. & Hirschfelder, A. (2003). Children of Native America today. Watertown, MA:
The text overviews 25 Native nations within a number of geographic regions in the
United States today, including the Haudenosaunee (Oneida) and Ojibway. For many of
the nations, there are efforts to maintain or reclaim traditional languages and culture,
including the arts such as beadwork, patchwork, or basketry. Many of the photographs
illustrate traditional clothing embellished with beadwork. The text briefly summarizes the
history, culture, and current economic activities and concerns for each nation.
Duvall, J. (1991). The Oneida. Chicago: Childrens Press.
This brief text quickly explains the lifestyle of the Oneida before European contact when
they lived in New York. The Oneida was one of five nations belonging to the Iroquois
Confederacy, a peace league. A unique aspect of Oneida life was the importance of
women--women had a role in government by serving as clan leaders, children became
part of their mother's clan, and members of the same clan lived together in a longhouse.
When Europeans came, they took over Oneida lands, brought diseases, and started wars
which harmed the Oneida people. During and after the American Revolution, Oneida lost
much of their lands to settlers, and a group of Oneida moved to Duck Creek, Wisconsin,
where the present Oneida reservation exists. Although the Oneida suffered the hardships
other tribes endured through laws to end tribal governments, Oneida leadership as well as
changes in the laws helped the Oneida in Wisconsin to become a strong nation and the
small Oneida reservation in New York to begin to grow. A few pictures portray
traditional clothing with beadwork and ribbonwork.
Hieb, J. A. (1994). Visions and voices: Winnebago elders speak to children. Independence, WI:
Western Dairyland Economic Opportunity Council.
This valuable and informative text was created through the process of interviews
conducted by Winnebago teens with their elders about aspects of history and culture of
the Winnebago (or Ho-Chunk). The first section of the book deals with traditional life
prior to contact with Europeans, including where they lived in Wisconsin; significant
beliefs which guided their lifestyle; the homes and beautiful clothing they created and
decorated; seasonal food-gathering and growing activities; birth and burial customs; the
importance of music and dance; and activities and responsibilities of warriors, chiefs,
medicine women and men, and clan members. The second section deals with the period
from contact with fur traders to the present period. The elders provide their perspectives
on the fur trade; treaties with the U.S. government; being forced to give up land; attempts
to force their removal to less desirable lands west of Wisconsin and efforts to remain in
Wisconsin; and activities to earn money and survive during this period of hardship. For
the last portion of the book, recipes of traditional foods which continue to be made are
included; the art of making Black Ash baskets is described; and photographs of
contemporary Winnebago people are displayed.
Hunter, S. M. (1997). Four seasons of corn: A Winnebago tradition. Minneapolis: Lerner.
The author describes the Winnebago or Ho-Chunk tradition of growing and drying corn
as engaged in by a contemporary Ho-Chunk family. Incorporated within the seasonal
activities of planting, weeding, harvesting, blanching, and drying the corn, the author
describes the historical significance of corn for survival; beliefs associated with growing
corn; and celebrations of the corn harvest through dancing the Green Corn Dance at a
powwow. Photographs of the different activities involved in growing, harvesting, and
drying the corn help to develop the main ideas.
Kalbacken, J. (1994). The Menominee. Chicago: Childrens Press.
This brief text describes the Menominee's creation story, their organization into clans and
the responsibilities of each clan, how the Menominee lived off the land by building
houses from their wooded environment and through hunting, fishing, and making maple
sugar. Some religious beliefs and legends are also described. The author portrays the
many hardships the Menominee experienced due to European Americans taking their
land, the role of Chief Oshkosh in helping to keep land for the tribe in Wisconsin, and the
disastrous effects of the termination law. Due to pressure from the Menominee, their
reservation was returned which they now control. On the reservation, the Menominee
have created additional businesses, social services, and their tribal government to serve
the people. The author closes with a brief explanation of the Menominee powwow, held
every August, during which people wear traditional clothing decorated with feathers,
beadwork, and ribbonwork.
King, S. (1993). Shannon: An Ojibway dancer. Minneapolis: Lerner.
The text focuses on Shannon Anderson, an Ojibwa who lives in Minneapolis and enjoys
shopping at the mall and playing video games with her friends, but also maintains
traditional Ojibwa activities. Shannon beads her own powwow fancy shawl outfits and
dances at powwows. She also attends Four Winds, a public school which has mostly
Native American students, many Native American teachers, and offers several courses
especially of interest for Native American students (such as different Indian languages).
Shannon lives with her grandmother, who taught her to do beadwork and helps Shannon
make her powwow outfits. The text and photographs portray Shannon doing beadwork,
Shannon's grandmother making the fringed shawl for Shannon's outfit, and Shannon and
her family purchasing beads for the beadwork. Finally, Shannon and her family
participate as dancers in the Mille Lacs Reservation in Minnesota, where they are also
members and where they belong, even if they do not live there.
Krull, K. (1995). One nation, many tribes: How kids live in Milwaukee's Indian community. New
York: Lodestar Books.
The author focuses on two youths, Thirza and Shawnee, who attend the Milwaukee
Indian Community School. Its location in a large city, rather than a reservation, make it
open to the various tribes living in Milwaukee, including Ojibwa, Oneida, Menominee,
Winnebago, and Potawatomi. The school is funded by profits from Potawatomi bingo and
all students must prove their Indian heritage to attend. The curriculum contains traditional
academic subjects and the history of Indians in the United States, Indian languages,
drumming, dancing, singing, arts and crafts, and traditional ceremonies. Both Thirza and
Shawnee engage in traditional dancing at powwows and in demonstrations at other
schools. Thirza is a hoop dancer, a dance with significant meanings. Shawnee's
grass-dancing is also portrayed, including the beadwork and ribbonwork on his two
outfits. Both Thirza and Shawnee have experienced stereotyping as Indian youth, but they
are committed to learning more about their Indian heritage.
Lucas, E. (1994). The Ojibwas: People of the northern forests. Brookfield, CT: Millbrook.
The author clarifies the three different names used for this nation: the Anishinabe, the
Ojibwas, and the Chippewas and how the people came to live around Lake Superior. The
text also provides a brief description of each person's role in the community, the division
of the tribe into bands and the connections through clans, religious beliefs, entertainment,
and the arts, crafts, and clothing created by the people. Before contact with Europeans,
Ojibwa women decorated clothing with shells, stones, animal teeth, claws, porcupine
quills, and hooves, then after glass beads were available, they developed complex
beadwork patterns. The author explains how the Ojibwa met their basic needs through a
seasonal lifestyle. This lifestyle was disrupted by the fur trade, increasing contact with
traders and settlers, the pressure to give up land and move west or onto reservations, and
policies to make the Ojibwa more like Europeans. The Ojibwa today maintain some
traditions through the education of their children, gathering wild rice, producing maple
sugar, continuing traditional arts and crafts, and holding powwows.
McLellan, J. (1991). Nanabosho dances. Winnipeg, Canada: Pemmican.
In this fictional picture book, the author explains the history of the hoop dance in the
context of grandparents helping their grandchildren get their outfits ready for the
powwow. The grandfather explains why taking care of one's outfit is so important
because of the significance of losing an eagle feather while dancing at a powwow. The
dancing must stop while elders perform a ceremony to pick up the feather and the dancer
may have to give away the outfit he or she did not take care of. Along with describing the
hoop dance's origin, the story discloses the Ojibwa belief of showing thankfulness to
Mother Earth by offering tobacco before picking a plant or shooting an animal to provide
needed food and clothing. The grandchildren's new outfits show beadwork and the
borders on the pages of the book come from traditional Ojibwa beadwork, quillwork,
weaving, embroidery, birchbark, and ribbonwork patterns.
Messinger, C. & Katz, S. (2007). When the shadbush blooms. Berkeley, CA: Tricycle Press.
The first author, a member of the Lenni Lenape Turtle Clan, combines historical fiction
with realistic fiction to depict continuing traditions of the Lenni Lenape people. One side
of the page illustrates a Lenni Lenape family prior to contact with Europeans and a
contemporary Lenni Lenape family follows the same tradition on the facing page. The
Lenni Lenape people follow seasonal activities and fish, plant and tend gardens, pick
berries, roast corn, harvest fall crops, prepare their houses for winter, play in the snow,
listen to grandparents’ stories, and gather maple sap. The author includes additional
background information on the Lenni Lenape people and their seasonal activities. The
main idea of the text is that the Lenni Lenape people live in contemporary society and
have modern jobs, but they continue to practice seasonal traditions.
Osinski, A. (1992). The Chippewa. Chicago: Childrens Press.
The text simply describes the life of the Chippewa or Ojibwa prior to European contact
including the seasonal cycles of sugar making in spring; fishing, berry picking, and
gardening in summer; gathering wild rice in fall; and hunting and trapping in winter. The
author not only briefly explains the daily life of the Ojibwa, but also some of their
religious beliefs and how their lives changed when European Americans took their land
and moved them onto reservations. The author closes with a glimpse into life today for
Ojibwa people, some living on reservations and continuing some of the traditional
activities and others living in urban areas who may still find ways to stay in touch with
their traditions. Several photographs show the intricate floral beadwork which Ojibwa
women created on clothing in the past and for powwows and special ceremonies today.
Ourada, P. K. (1990). The Menominee. New York: Chelsea House.
Before contact with Europeans, the Menominee met basic clothing, shelter, and food
needs from the immediate environment. Clothing was made from deerskin decorated with
porcupine quills and shells in floral designs. All Menominee belonged to a clan which to
a degree determined one's role in the tribe. After the Menominee became involved in the
fur trade, their lives changed to focus more on hunting beaver, but they also continued
traditional hunting and food gathering. After the Europeans were forced out following the
American Revolution, the Menominee struggled with greater pressures to take their land,
live on a reservation, convert to farming, and the disastrous effects of the termination law.
However, Menominee used European materials (glass beads and silk ribbon) in
traditional patterns to decorate clothing. Several pictures of late 19th and early 20th
century clothing are included. The Menominee did develop a modern sawmill which the
people preferred over farming but they struggled economically and protested the lumber
mill's loss of contracts and the giving away Menominee land until the termination law
was repealed in 1973. The Menominee have been able to restore the reservation and
survive with the lumber mill a main part of the economy.
Raczek, L. T. (1999). Rainy's powwow. Flagstaff, AZ: Rising Moon Books for Young Readers
from Northland Publishing.
This picture book depicts a young Native American girl, Rainy's (also called Lorraine),
and her brother Raymond's attendance at a powwow. Although Rainy and Raymond do
not appear to have immediate family with them, they stay close to Grandmother White
Hair, illustrating the broader concept of family among Native people. Rainy's dilemma is
to choose which type of powwow dancer she will become, either a traditional, shawl, or
jingle dancer. She seeks the advice of other dancers, but the Native American value of
giving helps her decide. The different powwow dances and outfits are described in the
text and the glossary elaborates on these and other components of powwows, including
the arbor, drum, eagle feather, fan, grand entry, and intertribal dances.
Rendon, M. R. (1996). Powwow summer: A family celebrates the circle of life. Minneapolis:
This picture book describes the Downwind family, who are Anishinabe, as they prepare
for and attend powwows on the powwow trail (attending different powwows every
weekend during the summer). With five children and four foster children, the parents,
Sharyl and Windy, are busy with getting everyone's outfits ready, including finishing up
any beadwork. At the first powwow, they are sponsoring a giveaway to thank people for
honoring and supporting a daughter in her reign as Junior Princess for the year. All
members of the family dance; Windy is a grass dancer, Sharyl is a jingle-dress dancer,
and the children are grass dancers, jingle-dress dancers, or fancy shawl dancers. Each has
some beadwork and/or ribbonwork on the outfit (shown in pictures) which may need
repair between powwows. The author explains the tradition of offering tobacco to the
Creator as a sign of thankfulness for family and friends at powwows. Gathering with his
extended family at powwows helps Windy cope with the recent death of his mother and
helps all members of the family become closer.
Tanner, H. H. (1992). The Ojibwa. New York: Chelsea House.
This text provides a more indepth description of Ojibwa history and culture. The author
explains the better relationship the Ojibwa had with the French during the fur trade era
because of their respect for Ojibwa culture which the British and the Americans did not
extend. Early adornment of clothing was done by women making beads from shell, bone,
or stone and dyeing porcupine quills and then sewing beads and quills onto animal hides.
When European trade goods were introduced in the 17th century, women used glass
beads, manufactured fabrics, and ribbons and began creating more floral designs. After
the Ojibwa were forced to move to reservations, their children made to attend reservation
schools, and use European American farming methods, many adopted a nonIndian way of
life. For much of the 20th century, the Ojibwa struggled economically, but elements of
the Ojibwa culture continue today--fishing, maintaining the fish population through fish
hatcheries, hunting, gathering rice, doing beadwork, and holding powwows.
Books and Curriculum Units for Teachers
American Indian Language and Culture Education Board. (n.d.). The history of the Hochungra
people: Winnebago tribe of Wisconsin. Madison, WI: Author.
Although somewhat outdated, this curriculum unit provides a helpful overview of
Ho-Chunk (the preferred name today) origins and early culture before contact with
Europeans. The unit also summarizes the treaties the Ho-Chunk made with the U.S.
government in which they gave up land and struggled to remain in Wisconsin despite
many attempts to move them west. The current concerns and status of the Ho-Chunk
likely needs to be updated. The unit also contains maps and teaching activities.
Carufel, R. (1990). Porcupine quillwork on birchbark. Madison, WI: American Indian Language
and Culture Education Board. Available from Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction.
This brief curriculum unit explains how Wisconsin Native Americans used quills to
decorate clothing and birchbark baskets and how beads came to replace quills. The unit
provides helpful information on the porcupine and its quills and the care which should be
taken in using them in art. Brief directions are given for obtaining, cleaning, and dyeing
quills as well as for making a quill pendant. Because quills require special care in
handling, perhaps inviting someone to the classroom who has experience in quillwork
would be the best way to introduce this art form to students.
Carufel, R. (1991). Winnebago applique. Madison, WI: American Indian Language and Culture
Education Board. Available from Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction.
The Ho-Chunk (the preferred name today) have especially been known for ribbon
applique textile art. This brief curriculum unit provides a background on how the
Ho-Chunk obtained silk ribbons to use in decorating traditional clothing. It also describes
the techniques and some of the patterns used in ribbon applique and which types of
clothing applique decorated. Sketches of ribbon shirts and contemporary examples of
applique on clothing are provided. Finally, in order to help students understand how to
make applique designs, directions are given for a simple paper applique project.
Clifton, J. A. (1987). The Potawatomi. New York: Chelsea House.
The text provides an overview of the history of the Potawatomi, including the people's
beliefs about their creation and migration around Lake Michigan. The lifestyle of the
Potawatomi prior to their discovery of Europeans is also described as well as changes
resulting from interactions with French fur traders. The text describes the hardships for
the Potawatomi which resulted from the wars over who would control the fur trade and
the treaties negotiated with the U.S. Government. These treaties resulted in the loss of
choice land and the removal of some to reservations. An explanation for how the
Strolling Potawatomi acquired a reservation in Forest County, Wisconsin and the many
hardships the people endured through the 19th and 20th centuries is given. The text
includes photographs of examples of Potawatomi beadwork and the importance of
powwows today for the Potawatomi.
Gordon, B. (1988). American Indian art: The collecting experience. Madison, WI: Elvehjem
Museum of Art.
This book is a catalog which accompanies an exhibit of selections from seven collections
of American Indian art from Wisconsin and surrounding areas. The curator/author
provides a helpful explanation of characteristics of American Indian art, especially as they
are distinct from and similar to European American art. Another informative aspect of the
book is the description of historical contexts for different eras of Native American art
from the 19th century to the present. It briefly portrays those events which encouraged
and those which suppressed American Indian art. The author encourages readers to
appreciate the art created by native people. The catalog includes photographs and
descriptions of beaded vests, moccasins, and bags from the Ojibwa, Ho-Chunk, and
Graymont, B. (1988). The Iroquois. New York: Chelsea House.
The author describes the Iroquois creation story and the formation of the League of the
Iroquois, which was passed down orally among the Iroquois nations. The main function
of the Iroquois League was to protect the people from external enemies and to ensure
peaceful relationships among the members. The daily lifestyle and beliefs of the Iroquois
before contact with Europeans are portrayed, as well as changes resulting from the fur
trade and the Iroquois nations' involvements in wars over the fur trade and the American
Revolution. The author also details the changes among the Iroquois due to their
movement to reservations and the loss of land in New York. Readers learn of the
movement of a group of Oneida to Wisconsin, the changing roles among Iroquois women
and men in more contemporary times, including women's loss of power and men's
increase in power. The text closes with the current concern for self-determination among
the Iroquois nations.
Halvorson, M. J. (1996). A'nicina'be manido' minesikan: Chippewa beadwork. Bismarck, ND:
State Historical Society of North Dakota.
This text is both a brief history of Ojibwa or Chippewa beadwork, commentary on an
exhibit of Ojibwa beadwork, and photographs of examples of the beadwork exhibit. The
photographs illustrate the ornate, luxurious beadwork done on clothing during the late
19th and early 20th centuries. Vests, shirts, breechcloths, dresses, skirts, blouses,
leggings, and moccasins with beautiful beadwork are included in the exhibit as well as a
beaded cradleboard, a pouch, bandolier bags, saddle blankets, and saddles. The beadwork
reflects both later floral designs and earlier geometric designs. The author summarizes the
Ojibwa's transition from quillwork to beadwork, the change in beadwork patterns from
geometric to floral, and the movement from buckskin to trade wool and black velvet. The
Plains Ojibwa beaded items used by their horses such as saddles, bridles, and saddle
Hammond, H. & Quick-to-See Smith, J. (1985). Women of sweetgrass, cedar and sage. New
York: Gallery of the American Indian Community House.
This text is both a catalog which accompanies an exhibit of contemporary art by Native
American women and also a brief collection of essays and an interview focusing on
Native American women as artists and the art they create. The essays describe the
organizations which have encouraged art, but the difficulty for artists to make a living
wage from their art. The two essays provide significant insight into the ability of Native
American women to deal with racial and gender discrimination, create art in the midst of
oppression, and to reveal their identities, spirituality, dreams, and connection to the earth
through art. One interesting piece in the exhibit is a pair of beaded tennis shoes which
reflects the artist's resistance to assimilation by transforming a European American
clothing article to represent Native American identity through beadwork.
Hartman, S. (1988). Indian clothing of the Great Lakes: 1740-1840. Liberty, UT: Eagle's View.
The author provides an overview of clothing worn by women and men during the period
when European textiles, glass beads, and silk ribbons were gradually replacing native
materials such as skins, quills, and moosehair embroidery. Helpful background
information is provided about the different types of clothing materials Native Americans
used and how they obtained these materials. Black and white sketches of different
articles of clothing, different styles of the same type of clothing such as leggings, blouses
or shirts, and moccasins, and complete outfits are included throughout the text. The
author describes distinct textile arts (quillwork, moosehair embroidery, beadwork, and
ribbonwork) used to embellish clothing and argues for regional styles in clothing and
ornamentation rather than tribal. The clothing Native Americans wore during this period
showed both European and Native American influences.
Hirschfelder, A. & Beamer, Y. (2000). Native Americans today: Resources and activities for
educators grades 4-8. Englewood, CO: Teacher Idea Press.
The text offers two lesson plans with background information on the significance of
Native American clothing and powwows. Within the lesson on clothing, the authors
explain that Native people’s clothes reflect the environment of the people, their tribal
identity, stage of life, the occasion, and the influence of others outside their nation. For
powwows, the authors provide a description of each type of dance and dress and
significant aspects of the powwows, including the grand entry, the drum, and eagle
feathers. The authors also suggest additional readings for teachers and students.
Hyman, C. A. (2012). Dakota women’s work: Creativity, culture & exile. St. Paul, MN:
Minnesota Historical Society.
The author describes Dakota women’s art, especially quillwork, beadwork, and later
quilts due to European American influence, during periods of colonization and genocide
for the Dakota people. The book begins with the portrayal of the relationship between
Dakota women’s art and Dakota society in the early 19th century when Dakota people still
controlled their homelands. It continues with the impact of the declining fur trade and
increasing numbers of European Americans on the Dakota people and how Dakota
women made art for sale. The author also describes the impact of missionaries and the
Dakota resistance to this influence leading to the 1862 war. The Dakota people’s extreme
hardships from incarceration and internment are explained as well as how the Dakota
rebuilt their families, communities, and culture while living on reservations. Dakota
women continued to create art as part of this revitalization.
Lyford, C. A. (1982). Iroquois crafts. Stevens Point, WI: R. Schneider.
This text is a reprint of the 1945 edition and reflects some outdated language in
describing Iroquois clothing. The author provides a brief overview of the lifestyle of the
Iroquois--their habitat, foods, clothing, games and sports, and ceremonies. The most
significant aspect of the book is the description and pictures of how clothing was
decorated after obtaining European materials as well as the early use of materials from the
environment. Helpful descriptions of designs used in moosehair embroidery, quillwork,
beadwork, and ribbonwork are furnished as well as the meaning of some of the designs.
The author helps the reader to understand what makes Iroquois beadwork unique and
provides sketches of a variety of quill, moosehair, and bead designs used to decorate
Lyford, C. A. (1982). Ojibwa crafts. Stevens Point, WI: R. Schneider.
This text is also a reprint of a 1943 edition and reflects some outdated language
describing Ojibwa clothing. The author provides a brief overview of the Ojibwa housing,
recreation, religion, gathering of foods such as wild rice and making maple sugar, and
activities of women and men. Descriptions of clothing the Ojibwa created from materials
in the environment before encountering Europeans are given as well as clothing created
after European textiles, beads, and ribbons were available. The main focus of the text is
the art of this nation--quillwork, beadwork, and ribbonwork, the designs used in these
different art forms, how the designs changed over time, and what clothing was decorated
with quills, beads, and ribbons. Valuable pictures and sketches of different designs for
quillwork, ribbonwork, and beadwork help the reader to understand the variety in the
patterns the Ojibwa created.
Oxley, S. (1981). The Anishinabe: An overview unit of the history and background of the
Wisconsin Ojibway Indian tribe. Madison, WI: American Indian Language and Culture
This curriculum unit is designed to be used as an introduction to the study of a specific
band of Ojibwa Native Americans. It explains the origins of the Anishinabe-Ojibwa,
including two versions of the creation story, the migration of the nation from the east
coast of Canada to close to Wisconsin, and how the Anishinabe were originally one
group, but then divided into the Ojibwa, Potawatomi, and Ottawa. The author briefly
explains different religions, the clan system, important lifestyle changes for the Ojibwa
due to the fur trade and the formation of the United States, and how the different
Wisconsin bands were restricted to reservations. The harmful effects of boarding schools
and governmental policies to eradicate tribal cultures are also explained. A valuable
section is the description of Ojibwa values and beliefs. The unit also contains maps,
teaching activities, and a brief play depicting the division of the Anishinabe into the
Ojibwa, Potawatomi, and Ottawa.
Oxley, S. (1981). The history of the Menominee Indians. Madison, WI: American Indian
Language and Culture Education Board.
This curriculum unit provides brief background information on the Menominee's
longevity in Wisconsin, including the creation story which explains how the Menominee
people came to exist and the specific area in which they lived. The author also quickly
explains the Menominee way of life and how they met their basic needs for food,
clothing, and shelter before encountering the French fur traders. Through trade, the
Menominee obtained new materials for hunting, decorating clothing, and preparing food,
but were also harmed by the European diseases. The loss of lands through treaties and the
disastrous effects of the Menominee nation being terminated as a federally recognized
tribe and reservation are explained as well as the fight to eventually regain tribal status.
The description of the Menominee nation today needs to be updated to include existing
economic and cultural activities. Helpful maps, recipes, and other teaching activities are
Oxley, S. (1981). The history of the Oneida Indians. Madison, WI: American Indian Language
and Culture Education Board.
This brief curriculum unit includes the Iroquois creation story and a description of what
life was like for the Oneidas and other Iroquois nations in New York before they
encountered Europeans. It also explains the harm that came to the Iroquois Confederation
through relationships with Europeans, including the loss of land, death from diseases, and
divisions due to wars. Helpful background information is given on how some Oneida
moved to Wisconsin and purchased land around the town of Oneida. The unit also
explains how the Oneida lost some of the reservation land and later efforts to regain it.
The section dealing with present life for the Oneida needs updating to include current
economic activities, social services provided for tribal members, and cultural activities. A
helpful sketch of longhouses, maps, a timeline of important events, and teaching activities
are also included.
Pannabecker, R. K. (1986). Ribbonwork of the Great Lakes Indians: The material of
acculturation. Unpublished doctoral dissertation, The Ohio State University, Columbus.
This exhaustive study of ribbonwork provides the historical and cultural context for the
development of ribbonwork in the 18th and 19th centuries and refutes the view that
Native Americans adopted ribbons because they were superior to native materials and that
Native American women were passive consumers of ribbons. The author provides
evidence that a number of Native American women expressed preferences for fabrics and
ribbons, refused to accept some fabrics and ribbons, and had individual accounts with
traders to obtain the desired materials. Even though ribbons were a European
manufactured material, Native American women were innovative in the use of these
materials and created a textile art which reflected Native American culture. Ribbon
decorated clothing became another means of showing cultural identification through
clothing. The appendix provides helpful sketches and explanations of four main
ribbonwork styles and the designs typically used in each style.
Smith, M. (1983). The technique of North American Indian beadwork. Liberty, UT: Eagle's
For those interested in learning to bead, most of the book focuses on the techniques and
materials for loom beading and applique beading. The author also furnishes helpful
information on different kinds of beads, how they were introduced to Native Americans
through the fur trade, diverse influences on beadwork designs, the importance of
beadwork to young women in the 19th century, and how beadwork should be appreciated.
An excellent poem "Beading Moccasins" by Terri Meyette is included as well as the
assertion that most of the fine beadworkers have been women while most of the best
books on beadwork have been written by men. The text includes a number of black and
white photographs of examples of beadwork, mostly done by bead artists from the Plains
St. Germaine, E. (1981). The Anishinabe: A unit on the history of the Lac du Flambeau band of
Lake Superior Ojibway Indians. Madison, WI: American Indian Language and Culture Education
This curriculum unit provides a brief overview of how one band of the
Anishinabe-Ojibwa came to live in Lac du Flambeau. It also describes several important
landmarks on the present reservation--Medicine Rock and Strawberry Island--and how
the location came to be called "Lake of Flames." The unit provides a glimpse of important
events and daily life during the late 19th century and early 20th century, including
accounts of quilting in the winter. The laws that affected the Ojibwa positively are
outlined as well as the economic hardships of the people. The description of the Ojibwa
band today needs updating to reflect current economic activities, the new museum and
cultural center, and new school as well as provide recent information on the standard of
living for people on the reservation. The unit includes maps of the reservation and the
Anishinabe-Ojibwa migration to the Wisconsin area and teaching activities.
St. Germaine, E. (1990). Beadwork design of American Indians. Madison, WI: American Indian
Language and Culture Education Board. Available from Wisconsin Department of Public
This brief curriculum unit clarifies the kinds of beads native people made or used which
came from their different environments prior to having access to glass beads from trading
with European fur traders. It also distinguishes between typical floral bead designs made
by Native Americans living in Wisconsin and other woodland areas from the traditional
geometric bead designs made by plains tribes. The curriculum unit also suggests bead art
activities which students can do.
University of Wisconsin Eau Claire Wisconsin Indian History, Culture, and Tribal Sovereignty
Project. (1996). Classroom activities on Wisconsin Indian treaties and tribal sovereignty.
Madison, WI: Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction.
This very comprehensive elementary, middle school, and high school curriculum guide
provides an overview of the history and culture of all of the tribes or bands presently
living in Wisconsin (11 total). The guide suggests main ideas to teach about the tribes'
lifestyles prior to contact with Europeans, including their relationship to natural
resources, family, clan, and band structures, seasonal activities, and concept of land
ownership. It reviews the relationship between the Wisconsin Indian tribes and the United
States government, including treaties for ceding land to the United States government,
removing tribes to reservations, and forcing American Indian children to attend boarding
schools and assimilate into European American culture. The guide also examines current
tribal governments and sovereignty. Extensive and valuable resource sheets are provided
in the guide including charts of characteristics of the Wisconsin tribes, maps, charts and
pictures of traditional activities, background information on Indian education, reservation
life, and the treaties negotiated between each Wisconsin Indian tribe and the United
States during 1795 through 1856.
Wooley, D. (1990). On the border: Native American weaving traditions of the Great Lakes and
prairie. Morehead, MN: Plains Art Museum.
This text is both a catalog for an exhibit of Native American textiles at the Plains Art
Museum and three essays reflecting on different aspects of Native American textile art.
The essays provide significant ideas about the importance of developing textile art skills
for young girls and women, the influence of fasting, visions, and dreams on this art, and
the value of textile arts within native communities. One author provides insights into the
connection between periods of flourishing textile arts and removal to reservations and
pressure to assimilate into European American culture. Another author refutes the view
that Native Americans became dependent on trade goods, but instead chose those goods
which were valued and then integrated them within Native American culture. Wearing
trade goods were also symbols of being a successful hunter during the fur trade era rather
than a sign of assimilation. Wooley, the third author, refutes the dichotomy between
Native American traditional art and tourist art with tourist art clearly evaluated as
inferior. Artists can sell and use the same object and invest pride in objects made for
themselves as well as those made to sell. Gender divisions among the textile arts are also
beginning to blur with more men doing beadwork and quilting.
HVS Video Productions. (Producer). (1994). The Menominee nation powwow [Video].
(Available from Menominee Indian Tribe of Wisconsin, P.O. Box 910, Keshena, WI 54135) Part
of the Educational Materials Center collection in Polk Library, University of Wisconsin Oshkosh.
Call number: E99.M44 M39 1994.
The video is 44 minutes in length and provides an excellent explanation of powwows.
Different speakers clarify the purposes of powwows, the two main types of powwows, the
distinct aspects of the Grand Entry or the beginning of the powwow, and the significance
of the drum group to the powwow. An important aspect of the video is the visual and
verbal descriptions of the discrete types of powwow dancers; how native people become
powwow dancers; the different parts of the outfits for men's traditional, grass, and fancy
dancing and for women's traditional, jingle-dance, and fancy shawl dancing; and the
distinct styles and meanings of dancing for each type of dance.
Riley, J. (Producer). (1992). Winnebago women: Songs and stories [Video]. (Available from Her
Own Words: Women's History & Literature Media, Jocelyn Riley, Producer, P.O. Box 5264,
Madison, WI 53705, 608-271-7083) Part of the Educational Materials Center collection in Polk
Library, University of Wisconsin Oshkosh. Call number: E99.W7 W49 1992.
The video is 19 minutes in length and features five Wisconsin Ho-Chunk women telling
about their lives in their own words. The photography shows the women and the
moccasins, buckskin dresses, beadwork, and ribbonwork they made. The women speak
about the importance of beadwork as an avenue for self-expression, the influence of
dreams and seeing designs at powwows on creating new designs, the considerable
investment of time needed to bead the top of a dress, the development of important
qualities of endurance and patience through beadwork, and the value of teaching the
young to do beadwork and ribbonwork.
Annotated bibliography list