Tip 122: November 2018 – Native American Arts and Crafts
Website Educational Tip for Physical Development
Laurie Carlson stated in More Than Moccasins “For
thousands of years, the only people that lived in North America were Native
Americans. Scientists think that they first came from Asia to Alaska during
the Ice Age. They walked across a land bridge that is now covered by the
ocean. They lived here for thousands of years before Columbus and his
Spanish ships arrived. The Spaniards were looking for India, so they called
the people they met “Indians.” The name stuck. It was easier than learning
the names of all the Native American groups; there were hundreds of
– Almost every Indian song or dance was accompanied by the music of drums
and rattles. The rattles can be filled with small stones, dried beans or
corn, and/or small shells. Use an empty toilet paper roll. Fold down one
end and add the noise makers in the other then fold it down. Tape each end
down with masking tape and decorate the rattle with magic markers. Infants
can shake these with the music.
– The storytellers of the Northwest Coast people made many masks decorated
with pictures of animals to help them tell their stories. They would use
pictures of turtles, bears, fish, buffalos, and birds. These storytellers
often got their ideas from these wild animals around them. In this way, the
people lived in harmony with nature. Use a white paper plate with two eye
holes cut so the child can see. Staple and tape a wooden tongue depressor
or Popsicle stick at the bottom as a handle. Decorate the plate with animal
pictures using markers or cutting animal pictures out of magazines.
Egg Carton Totem Pole
– The only Indians to make totem poles lived on the Northwest Coast from
southern Alaska to the Seattle, Washington area. A pole told the stories
which had been handed down. These often used animals and human figures to
tell the story. To make a table top totem pole use an egg carton and cut
the lid off. Cut the egg section in half lengthwise and trim the rough
edges away. Cut fins for salmon and wings for an eagle from the flat
section of the carton. Glue together the two sections, back to back, with
the wing slipped in between. Paint on different faces and symbols.
Early Native Americans lived in small family groups or tribes all over
North America. Most tribes spoke their own language, had their own customs,
and formed many nations across the land. There are about 500 tribes in
North America. A tribe is a group of relatives who speak the same language
and have the same leader, or chief. A chief can be a man or woman.
The kind of trail you make will determine success or failure.
It is not what you say that counts the most, but it is what you do.
(Anna M. Shaw – Pima Tribe, Arizona)