The ​United States and Indigenous Peoples

Last week we began our exploration of the continents. This journey will take us well into Spring as we discuss each continent and several countries within it.

We began our discussion by talking about the seven continents, and identifying the one we live in—North America! Within North America there are many countries, including our own, the United States. The United States is comprised of 50 states. We identified Ohio, the place that we call home.

We discuss indigenous peoples of each culture we visit throughout our Social Studies curriculum. We were so grateful to have one of our Primary parents, Emily, who is a member of the Cherokee Nation, visit our classroom to discuss her heritage.

Emily began with a lovely book, “We Are Grateful: Otsaliheliga” by Traci Sorrell and illustrated by Frane Lessac, that tells the story of how grateful the Cherokee community is for the gifts and challenges that each season brings. The children got to enjoy baskets that were woven by Emily, one filled with Cedar, as well as a wood rattle carved into an Owl. Owls are believed to be good luck!

The children also learned some of the Cherokee language. Traditionally when we take attendance at morning meeting we use the language of the country we are discussing to say “here”. We now include a choice of here, present or “ahani” (pronounced  “ah-hah-nee), Cherokee for “here”, when taking attendance this week. Emily also taught the children how to count to five in Cherokee:

1 = saquu (pronounced “saw-gwoo”) ᏐᏬ

2 = ta’li (pronounced “tah-lee”) ᏔᎵ

3 = tso’i (pronounced “joh-ee) ᏦᎢ

4 = nvgi (pronounced “nuh-gee) ᏅᎩ

5 = hisgi (pronounced “hee-skee”) ᎯᏍᎩ

We ended our morning meeting with a traditional Cherokee lullaby “Usdi Yona,” which means Little Bear. “Wado,” thank you, to Emily for visiting our classroom!

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