By Jill Bowman, S. Foster School  #67, Indianapolis, Indiana; July, 1998

Topic:  Indians of northern Indiana before the canals were built.

Estimated time: 3 - half hour sessions

Grade levels: K - 5

Purpose:  To introduce students to the Indian tribes of central and northern Indiana

Geography Standards addressed:
SPATIAL CONCEPTS: 1.  How to use maps and other geographic representations,
PLACES: 4.  The physical and human characteristics of places,
HUMAN SYSTEMS: 9. The characteristics, distribution, and migration of human populations on Earth's surface, 12.  The processes, patterns, and functions of human settlement.  13. How the forces of cooperation and conflict among people influence the division and control of Earth's surface,
ENVIRONMENT AND SOCIETY: 14.  How human actions modify the physical environment,
USES OF GEOGRAPHY: 17.  How to apply geography to interpret the past.

Objectives:  Upon completion of this activity, students will be able to

Background:  There were numerous Woodland tribes living in Indiana during the period just before the building of the canals (c. 1830's).  These tribes were forced to leave their homelands as the canal became reality across north central  Indiana.  Some of these tribes included: the Wea, Potawatomi, Kickapoo, Ottawa, and the Chippewa.

Materials required:

  1. Brainstorm a list of Indian terms that the children know including the names of towns and rivers.
  2. Make sure everyone understands the terms from #1and that words such as wikkiup and canoe are included.
  3. n small groups, draw an Indian village.  Children should be sure to include (or construct) a waterway and any other physical feature the group wishes.  It must include a river, five houses (wikkiups), a canoe, a council house, and the name.
  4. Use the Indiana map showing the waterways.  Discuss where the Indians might have lived in Indiana in the early days.  Have children place their village names on the map.
  5. Then, discuss the map of Indiana which shows the route of the various canals.
  6. Overlay a map of the state showing the major cities at this time.  Discuss the relationship of the pioneer Europeans to the Native Americans at this time in history.
Why did the Indians build their villages on waterways?
How did the pioneers change the Indian lands?
Did the pioneers build their towns at the same places that the Indians had?  Why?

Grade the Indian villages informally based on the criteria listed in procedure in #3.
Have children write a picture letter to a friend.  They should tell about life in their village.

 Celebrate their villages by displaying the maps and stories in a central
             location of the school.

Indiana maps are available through the IUPUI office of Cartographic  Services or on-line.