Explore the Heritage of Indigenous Peoples
- Grades: 3–5
The Sami people of Scandinavia, the Inuit of the Arctic regions, the Carib Indians of the rain forest in South America...these are among the many indigenous peoples of the world — the first known inhabitants of a place. Through the Internet, not only you can explore the history and cultures of indigenous groups around the globe but even experience native people sharing their own stories and heritage online.
The Inuit people survived the frozen Arctic north for centuries through a modest hunting and trapping lifestyle. Today, some Inuit writers have employed the most modern of technologies, the Internet, to tell about their culture and history. You can read about Nunavut, the lands inhabited by Inuit ancestors that in 1999 became a separate territory in Canada, and even see a map of it.
Like the Inuit, the Sami people of Scandinavia have sought to regain land upon which their ancestors lived. In their Web site, these descendants of Europe's far north write of a history dating back before the Swedish, Finnish, or Viking cultures — and they even provide a sample of Sami music.
From the far north, travel to sub-Saharan Africa to learn about the history and art of the Yoruba. These semi-independent peoples lived in highly complex kingdoms, but their way of life was vastly changed after many of their people were captured for the slave trade to the Western Hemisphere. By looking at their art and artifacts, you can see how the beliefs and ways of the Yoruba have been passed on until today.
The independence and ways of life of many indigenous people have been lost or at least dramatically affected due to conquerors or settlers who established colonies. To examine how this happened to many different groups in the Western Hemisphere, visit the Library of Congress virtual exhibit, 1492: An Ongoing Voyage. It shows what life was like among the millions of indigenous people living in the Western Hemisphere at the time of Christopher Columbus's voyages and how European colonization altered these societies forever.
Constantly under threat from other forces, many different indigenous cultures and people are attempting to preserve their unique stories and history, as you will understand by checking out Indigenous Peoples' Literature. This site offers a rich collection of Native American literature, tribal stories, photographs, poems, and much more. It is also a great resource for online research about native peoples globally, from the indigenous groups of Mexico to the Maori of New Zealand.
An Introduction to the Sami People
Cutting to the Essence, Shaping for the Fire: Yoruba and Akan Art in Wood and Metal
1492: An Ongoing Voyage
Indigenous Peoples' Literature