Did you know the Peninsula School District has over 150 students with Native American heritage in our schools representing over 40 different tribes from around the country?
In honor of November being Native American Heritage Month, our school district’s Native American Education Program has provided a list of facts about Native history and culture to help us all learn a little more about our lands original inhabitants.
Students who have Native American heritage may participate in the PSD Native American Education Program by signing up in their school office.
There are 567 different Native American tribes in the United States and Washington state is home to 29 of them. This area also includes tribes our state recognizes but the United States does not – including the Duwamish, Chinook, and Steilacoom.
The four largest tribes by population in the United States are 1) Cherokee, 2) Navajo, 3) Sioux (Lakota), and 4) Chippewa
The closest tribes to PSD are the Puyallup, Nisqually, Skokomish, Suquamish, and Steilacoom tribes.
Two major resources for tribes in our area have always been cedar trees and salmon. Salmon was used to eat and trade and cedar to use for homes (longhouses), canoes, clothes, art, and weaving baskets for everyday use.
There are 10 different Native American regions in the United States, which connects tribes with some similarities in some, but not all, culture and customs often based on the environment. The regions are Northwest Coast, Plateau, Great Plains, Southwest, Great Basin, Northeast, Southeast, Arctic, California, and Subarctic.
Veterans Day fact: Over 24,000 Native Americans served in World War II. The most famous of them being the Navajo Code Talkers, who have been honored for helping win the war by using their language to create an unbreakable code the Japanese could never decipher.
A powwow is a cultural gathering that includes dancing, drumming, singing and socializing. Dancers wear traditional regalia that varies depending on the type of dance they are doing. The main dance types are Traditional, Fancy, Grass, Jingle dress, and Shawl. Our region has dozens of powwows a year and all our welcome to attend.
The founding fathers of our country looked to the Iroquois League of Nations and their constitution to help write the U.S. Constitution.
There are 6.7 million Native Americans in the United States with approximately 22% living on reservations and the other 78% living outside of reservations.
The popular sport of lacrosse was invented by tribes from the southeast, who introduced it to European settlers.
The last major Indian War was known as the Battle of Wounded Knee and took place in December 1890 in South Dakota.
Many states, cities, lakes, rivers, mountains and other places are named using words Europeans heard spoken by local tribes. For example: Seattle (Sealth), Tacoma (Tahoma), Kitsap, Palouse, and La Push.
Famous Native Americans: Jim Thorpe (Fox), considered one of the greatest athletes of all time; Maria Tallchief (Osage), the first ever American prima ballerina; John Herrington (Chickasaw), the first Native American astronaut to go into space, and Billy Frank Jr. (Nisqually), fishing rights activist.
Museums: Did you know there are two national museums dedicated to Native American history and culture? One is in New York and the other is in Washington D.C. next to the U.S. Capitol building. There are several local museums you can visit with excellent representation of Native American history and culture including, the Suquamish and Tulalip tribal museums, Tacoma Art Museum, and the Burke Museum at the University of Washington in Seattle.
Many cities now celebrate Indigenous Peoples Day in October rather than Columbus Day, choosing to recognize the original occupants of the lands that make up the United States.
Did you know the Seattle Seahawk logo and design on their jersey collar and pant leg are inspired by Northwest Coast Native American artwork designs?
During raids of other tribes Plains tribe warriors considered it a great honor if they were able to ride by their enemy and touch them (not kill them). This was called “Counting Coup” and was highly regarded more so than injuring their enemy.
If you have any questions about the PSD Native American program, please contact Jason LaFontaine at firstname.lastname@example.org