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  • I Got Skills! Primitive Technology and Cherokee Tradition

    Primitive cultures living in Georgia thousands of years ago made everything they needed. Today it is important to the surviving native cultures to continue practicing the skills and sharing the traditions that ensured survival. A Cherokee carver, and a storyteller and musician describe ceremonial mask, weapons, tools, and the language of Georgia's Native Americans.

    Support Materials

    Discuss

    1. Masks worn during dances were symbols to the natives of Georgia. Why would they make them in the form of animals?

    2. What is different between the role of women in the Cherokee culture and our present day "white man's" culture?

    3. Give several (2-3) reasons why the Cherokees would be called conservationists today.

    Expansion

    1. Make a list of skills that primitive cultures needed to provide food for themselves and a list of skills needed to provide food today. Discuss the differences and how human culture has changed over time.

    2. a) Make a mask that looks like an animal that the Cherokees might have hunted. You may use fake fur or material you find around the house - even construction paper.
    b) Make up a dance and demonstrate this dance to the class as you wear the mask. You should interpret to the class what you have done or said during this dance and why you did this.

    Vocabulary

    culture: patterns, traits, and products considered a part of a particular period, class, community, or population
    flint: a very hard, fine-grained quartz that sparks when struck with steel
    profanity: abusive, vulgar, or irreverent language (e.g., cursing, cussing, swearing)

    For Teachers

    Discussion Guide

    1. Masks worn during dances were symbols to the natives of Georgia. Why would they make them in the form of animals?
    If they were hunting the animals - and many times they were - they wished they could become more like these animals. They may have wanted to try to think as the animal would think, so that they would be easier to catch.

    2. What is different between the role of women in the Cherokee culture and our present day "white man's" culture?
    Women are the heads of their households and own all the property in the Cherokee culture. They are the heads of their clans and make major decisions about wars, slavery, and conflicts.

    3. Give several (2-3) reasons why the Cherokees would be called conservationists today.
    The Cherokees and other Native Americans lived by using what nature had provided. They did not over-use land, animals, or other resources. Adaptation to their surroundings, rather than wasting or tearing down what could not be replaced, was a way of life for them. The settlers were taught by the Cherokee to rotate their crops, to grow corn and other foods, and to irrigate by planting near streams where the water could be used without harming the land or water. Tribes tended to establish villages in the middle of a fork in the river. The river on one side of the village water supply could be used for drinking and cooking; the other part of the river could be used for washing, etc.

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