Part One: First Nation Creation Stories
Language Arts or Creative Writing: First Nation Creation Stories
Time Frame: 90 Minutes or two 45 Minute periods.
- Students will be able to read over various First Nation Creation stories.
- Students will look for the commonalities within the Creation Stories.
- Students will be made aware that there is more than one theory of how First Nations people came to the Americas rather than the traditional scientific theory of the Bering Strait.
- Have students look on the Internet and in the library for First Nation Creation stories.
- Once they have selected their story have them identify the main characters of the story and retell the story in their own words in paragraph form.
- Have the students break into groups of three or four to tell their story and to talk about the stories they found.
- Alternative: perhaps someone in the class has heard these stories from family, this is called oral tradition.
- First Nation Creation Stories
- Access to Internet
- Access to School Library
- Language Arts Notebook or Looseleaf Paper
Space Requirements: Classroom and other areas where students can break into small groups.
Within most schools the accepted norm was to teach children that all First Nations people came from a Mongolian tribe in China through the Bering Strait, it is just within recent years that, while that theory is still being taught, several other theories are taught to balance that theory (The Applied History and Research Group, 2000).
One of these other theories is told within First Nation communities: Creation stories. A good book to read prior to teaching and reading these creation stories with your students is Julie Cruikshank’s book Reading Voices. This is a book which provides readers with a basic understanding of oral stories and the written word through providing background information and integrating personal stories within.
First Nation Creation stories often depict water, ask the students to look for these commonalities.
Directions/Procedure: Lesson One Worksheet included at the end of this lesson plan.
- Allow the students 15-20 minutes to find their Creation Stories via library or Internet. Allow students time to read their information and write some notes on it (10 minutes). Have students:
- Identify the tribe of origin for the story
- Identify who the main characters are for the story
- Identify the role of water (if any) in the creation story
- Have students break into groups of three or four to talk about the story they are presenting and share their story with others in the group (15 minutes). Have students:
- Look for similarities between the stories
- Identify what makes their story different from their peers’.
- Have students work alone at their desk to rephrase and rewrite their Creation Story (20 minutes). Have students:
- Highlight the important part(s) of their story
- Write the story in one to three paragraphs depending on the ability of the student
- Identify the main characters
- Identify the tribe or nation the story was written about
- Have students go back to their previous group of three or four and read/present the story/paragraphs that they have written. They are then to pick one member of their group to read or present their story for the class (15 minutes).
- The chosen student from each group presents their rewritten Creation story to the class as a whole (10 minutes).
- All stories are to be handed in to the teacher for final evaluation.
Evaluation: The evaluation will be twofold:
- There will be a mark for the submitted final copy of their written story recapping a First Nation Creation story.
- The second mark will be given by their classmates through a peer group evaluation. Please note the rubrics included at the end of this unit.
Cruikshank, J. (1991). Dan Dhá Ts’edenintth’é Reading Voices: Oral and Written Interpretations of the Yukon’s Past. Vancouver: Douglas & McIntyre Ltd.
Goble, P. (1996). Remaking the Earth: A Creation Story from the Great Plains of North America. New York: Orchard Books
Jenks, K. (1999). Sacred Creation Narratives from North America. Retrieved from http://www.mythinglinks.org/ct~creation3.html
Library and Archives Canada. (2005). Haida. Retrieved from http://www.collectionscanada.ca/settlement/kids/021013-2061.1-e.html
Library and Archives Canada. (2005). Mi’kmaq. Retrieved from http://www.collectionscanada.ca/settlement/kids/021013-2091.3-e.html
Muskrat’s Den BBS. (2004). How Muskrat Created the World. Retrieved from http://www.muskrat.com/index.htm#MuskratLegends
Library and Archives Canada. (2005). Wendat (Huron). Retrieved from http://www.collectionscanada.ca/settlement/kids/021013-2111.1-e.html
Taylor, C.J. (1994). Bones in the Basket: Native Stories of the Origin of People. Montreal: Tundra Books.
Welker, G. (2004). Apache Creation Story. Retrieved from http://www.indians.org/welker/creation.htm
Welker, G. (1996). Gabrielinos Origin Tale. Retrieved from http://www.indians.org/welker/legend.htm
Creation Story Worksheet
1) Identify the Creation Story you have chosen:
2) Identify the Nation or Tribe for this story:
3) Who are the main characters in this story?
4) Rephrase or Retell the Creation Story, write it using your own words: If you require more paper, please attach it to this paper.