8 Native American Stories

Competencies: Social Studies, Geography

Geography 3.2: Understands human interaction with the environment.

CBA: Humans and the Environment


Objective: Students listen to several Native American stories about how something in nature came to be.  Then they write their own story about how something in nature came to be.

Materials: stories included in the activity, paper, pencil, crayons or pens to illustrate, laminated blackberry vine


  1. Read one of the Native American stories attached.
  2. Discuss how the Native Americans often used stories to explain how something in nature came to be. Discuss what in natural characteristics are explained in the story just read.
  3. Read another story to the students. Direct them, “While you listen to this story, see if you can tell what the story is explaining in nature.”
  4. Students write their own story that explains how something came to be in nature. Brainstorm ideas such as: how mountains got to be so big, how the sun and moon got into the sky, why the beaver’s tail is flat, why bears have sharp claws, how the turtle got its shell, what causes it to rain, why frogs jump, why bald eagles have white heads, why porcupines have quills, etc.
  5. Students can illustrate their stories and then share the stories with the class.


The Native American name for Squak Mountain was tukaiyu-a’ltu which means “Wolf’s house,” and the name for Tiger Mountain was ts’oop-a’ltu, ts’oop meaning “swamp.” Using this information, let students come up with their own stories about the two mountains.


Activity 8 (DOC)
Activity 8 (PDF)
Native Stories (PDF)

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