What do you know about the Native American culture?
What are the stereotypes and realities?
What do today’s schools and teachers know about the Native American people?
Take the quiz below to see if you and your students can
identify the truths and myths of this culture.
- T or F All Native American tribes live in tipis.
This is untrue. While several tribes live in tipis, not all Native American tribes do. Encourage students to explore the dwellings
of other tribes, and why tipis are not appropriate housing for all tribes.*
- T or F Native Americans worship nature and animals.
False. While Native Americans hold great respect and honor for nature and animals, they do not worship them. Their belief system centers on one creator who goes by many names. Be sure to clarify the difference with students.*.
- T or F A medicine man and a shaman are the same thing in Native American culture.
Couldn’t be further from the truth. In Native American culture, a medicine man is someone who uses herbs to treat illness or injury. A shaman in of European descent, and have no connection to the Native American culture at all. Be sure to use correct terms when teaching students about the Native American people.*.
- T or F Native Americans are lazy or refuse to work.
Untrue. To understand this perception, it is necessary to know the background of this culture. Once America was “discovered,” Native Americans of all tribes were expected to completely adapt to the new culture. This meant changing beliefs, ways of life, clothing, personal appearance, dwellings, etc. When the Native Americans refused to adapt, misconceptions of work ethics developed into full-blown stereotypes that still exist today.*.
- T or F Native Americans are uncivilized savages.
Just plain wrong. The terms “uncivilized” and “savage” imply that these people were blood-thirsty for battle. While some Native American tribes are considered warriors (often at war), it should not be taught that every tribe was seeking to kill. Also, these words suggest that Native Americans ran about without any system of morality. Native Americans had (or still have) their own system of laws and punishment. Living by a different set of guidelines does not characterize civility.*
*(n.d.). Retrieved 9 5, 2011, from http://www.bluecorncomics.com/stertype.htm#hallofshame