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Washington State Diversity: Three Geographical and Cultural Regions

History 1: The student examines and understands major ideas, eras, themes, developments, turning points, chronology, and cause-and-effect relationships in US, World, and Washington State history.
Geography 2: The student understands the complex physical and human characteristics of places and regions.
Geography 3: The student observes and analyzes the interaction between people, the environment, and the culture.

GRADE LEVEL: Secondary

BASIC CONCEPTS: In Washington State there are three distinct regions or cultural areas that are distinctly different from each other: Coastal, Puget Sound, and Inland Plateau.

ORGANIZING GENERALIZATION: Because of the diversity in the geographical regions in this state, the Native American cultures represented here are equally as diverse and unique. To build knowledge, understanding, and appreciation for historical and contemporary Indian culture we must examine how people meet their needs through the use of natural resources, adaptation, and change.

CULTURE AREA: Entire Washington State.

TIME PERIOD: Pre-contact to present.

BACKGROUND: The physical differences of each region dictates and determines the lifestyles (food, clothing, transportation, etc.) of the peoples that live or have lived there, even though some similarities occurred due to borrowing and trading of goods. The Indians in Washington lived in tribal groups that differed in size and were usually divided into several bands or subdivisions. Language also divided the tribes with the identifications of at least seven major language families being represented in the state. Other factors affected these regions, such as environment, and seasonal cycles, which in turn affected the people in each region and even had an effect on each gender's responsibilities; women's role in cooking and housekeeping, food gathering, weaving and basketmaking and men's role in fishing, hunting, canoemaking, and woodworking. Home fit each region, as did clothing, business, feasting, ceremonies and festivals, government, transportation, etc.


Knowledge Students will: (History 1.3) examine the influence of culture on US, World and Washington State history, (Geography 2.3) identify the characteristics that define the Pacific Northwest and the Pacific Rim as regions, (Geography 3.2) analyze how the environment and environmental changes affect people, and (Geography 3.3) examine cultural characteristics, transmission, diffusion and interaction.

Skills Students will: Read the materials, take notes from materials, and analyze or interpret the characteristics of the diverse Native American cultures in Washington State.

Values Students will: examine the historical development of different cultures with regard to cultural elements such as art, literature and music, customs and traditions, how people made a living, governments, philosophical and religious ideas and social developments and discuss how these elements have impacted history, AND analyze how cultural and physical features define a place locally and in other parts of the world, and detect and interpret how changes in the physical environment enhance or diminish its capacity to support human activity, and evaluate how the numerous subcultures that comprise a national culture interact and examine the consequences of their interaction.

ACTIVITIES: This seemingly monumental task can be accomplished in a more objective manner using the reference material cited below. This material distinguishes each region in an inclusive and excellent manner, includes many lessons, question and study sheets, listing of herbs and herbal remedies, and would work well as overheads.

Divide the class into three sections, each representing the different regions. Each group should write down the unique elements of all of the different facets of life in each region. The group then brainstorms using these elements to write a story named A Day in the Life of the_____(cultural region) People.

EXTENSIONS: The depth of the material in the reference work works well for extended lessons on this complex subject matter. There is easily enough information here that a student could write a life history, complete with daily activities, for an individual from any of the areas, male or female, or even possibly a regional area biography, analyzing the unique features of each culture. A good question to use as a focus could be "How would a non-Indian view this culture after initial contact (first meeting)?" OR "How would someone from one of these regions view a white newcomer (settler in covered wagon)?"

EVALUATION: Students should be able to exhibit two objectives after this activity: To build knowledge, understanding and appreciation for historical and contemporary Indian culture and To examine how people meet their needs through the use of natural resources, adaptation, and change.


Indians of Washington State - major contributor -Judith Milhofer
Available from OSPI - Office of Indian Education (129 page curriculum resource guide)

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