First Americans are those many people call Native Americans. We say First Americans because they were the first inhabitants of the land now known as America. The term is less confusing because anyone who is born here is actually Native American. First Americans is a less ambiguous term and pays homage to the fact that they were already here before Christopher Columbus “discovered” America.
We are studying northwest and southwest First Americans. Using various media forms to learn makes the process more interesting and allows information to be disseminated in a more palpable manner. The Tornado is very receptive to movies and documentaries when used in conjunction with interactive notebooking and reading text. We don’t subscribe to a regular cable service but we do pay for Amazon Prime, Netflix, Curiosity Stream, and Hulu. We also utilize free services such as History.com.
Many people are turned off by Amazon Prime because it is a little difficult to search, but I was able to find some great documentaries that are free (as of this posting) with Prime Membership. I wanted to share the documentaries that we have watched that I believe are beneficial to the learning process. Most of them are short- no more than 30 minutes, and the content is easily digestible without being too Eurocentric.
FLOE Approved Documentaries on First Americans
Navajo: Indians of the Southwest is a short documentary that provides an overview of this First American tribe. You will learn about their efforts to farm, their religious practices, and their homes. You will also learn about their creation myths and their violent relocation to reservations. It is a VERY brief overview and may leave you/your child with questions, but it is honest and does not try to make the European settlers look good. It’s a great video to watch if studying the tribe on its own or if you are doing a regional study.
Southwest Indians (Revised) introduces the three major First American tribes of the southwest. This includes the Mogollon, Hohokam, and Anasazi. You will learn about their crafts, religion, cultural practices, and their contributions to modern society (the Hohokam created canals whose paths are still used today, and they invented lacrosse). Again, this is a brief, yet informative documentary.
Have you found any good media resources for teaching your homeschooler about First Americans?