Scholastic
Source
Scholastic Kids Press Corps
The Scholastic Kids Press Corps is a team of about 50 Kid Reporters around the nation.  The interactive site brings daily news to life with reporting for kids, by kids.

Native American Influence

Settlers needed help to survive in a new land

By Lisa Saunders | April 30 , 2007
Chief Steven Atkins (right) meets with Scholastic News Kid Reporters Trevor Brady (left) and Lisa Saunders in Jamestown, Virginia, November 2006. (Photo by Suzanne Freeman)
Chief Steven Atkins (right) meets with Scholastic News Kid Reporters Trevor Brady (left) and Lisa Saunders in Jamestown, Virginia, November 2006. (Photo by Suzanne Freeman)

Many people will celebrate the birth of America at the 400th anniversary of the Jamestown settlement in Virginia. One group of people, however, will be involved in that celebration as a reminder that America is really much older than that.

“It didn’t all begin in 1607,” said Steven Atkins, Chief of Virginia’s Chickahominy tribe. “Our people had been here for thousands of years.”

Native Americans were an essential part of helping the first European settlers survive their stay in the New World.

“When the settlers arrived, they were not aware of the harsh winter conditions,” Atkins said. “They didn’t know how to till the soil or how to grow the crops indigenous to the native people.”

In turn, the settlers offered new technology to the Native Americans. They showed them a new way to construct their buildings, a new way to make clothes, and even new materials like metals to make pots and pans.

Eventually, the two groups of people ran into trouble, mainly because they each had a different concept of how to treat land. The settlers claimed ownership and put up fences to keep others out. Native Americans believed the land was to be used for everyone’s benefit.

“The mentality of the native people was that it’s not mine to own, but mine to use and to preserve for succeeding generations,” Atkins said.

The chief showed his obvious love and deep passion for his history during an interview with Scholastic News Online. He seemed sad when talking about how the Native American population has dropped from several hundreds of tribes down to about 38. He also disagrees with the way Native Americans are portrayed in today’s textbooks.

“The textbooks try to keep us in the 17th century,” Atkins said. “What the Jamestown commemoration is going to do is show that we are modern members of society who contribute to all spectrums of life.”

The 400th anniversary is a chance to show that Native Americans pay taxes and raise children like everyone else. They are lawyers and doctors and business owners. Atkins, for example, is not only chief of his tribe—he is also the deputy director of the Department of Human Resources Management for the Commonwealth of Virginia.

“We’re going to let people know that we’re not period museum pieces,” he said. “We’re vital, vibrant participants in America’s non-Anglican culture.”

Celebrate Jamestown

Commemorate the 400th anniversary of Jamestown with Scholastic News Online.

American Indian Heritage Month

For more Kid Reporter coverage of the annual celebration of America's native heritage, check out the American Indian Heritage Month Special Report.

 

About the Author

Lisa Saunders is a member of the Scholastic Kids Press Corps.

  • Teacher Store
  • The Teacher Store  
    American Indian Families

    American Indian Families

    by Jay Miller

    SET FEATURES:

    •     Superb age-appropriate introduction to curriculum-relevant subjects
    •     Covers all studies, from Animals to American History, Geography to Science
    •     "Words to Know" glossary clarifies subject-specific vocabulary
    •     "Learning More" section encourages independent study
    •     Index makes navigating subject matter easy

    •  
      REVIEWS:


       
       Booklist
      "The True Books series does an admirable job of introducing various subjects to young readers..."


       
      "Books in the series are accessible, lucidly written, and well focused."


       
      "Enough (largely upbeat) information for reports."

       

      $17.50 You save: 30%
      Library Binding | Grades 3-5
      Add To Cart
      Educators Only
    American Indian Families
    Grades 3-5 $17.50
    Add To Cart
  • Teacher Store
  • The Teacher Store  
    Pocahontas

    Pocahontas

    by Nancy Polette

    Another great title from Scholastic. Detailed description coming soon.

    $3.71 You save: 25%
    Paperback Book | Grades 1-2
    Add To Cart
    Educators Only
    Pocahontas
    Grades 1-2 $3.71
    Add To Cart
Privacy Policy
EMAIL THIS

* YOUR FIRST NAME ONLY

* FRIEND'S FIRST NAME ONLY

* FRIEND'S EMAIL ADDRESS

MESSAGE
Here's something interesting from Scholastic.com