Learning Targets

  • I can identify the original Indigenous tribes of the Great Plains.
  • I can identify many attributes of the original Indigenous tribes of the western part of the North American continent. 
  • I can analyze the role that residential schools played in the Indigenous communities.

Key Terms

  1. Tepees
  2. Elk 
  3. Rocky Mountains 
  4. Kiowa
  5. Osage
  6. Folklore
  7. Vision Quests
  8. Plains
  9. Momaday 
  10. Motif


Western Indigenous Tribes


Learn more about the original Great Plain tribes:


Tepees, mud huts 



Bison, deer, elk, corn, beans, squash

Spiritual Practices

Animism, vision quests




Issues in the Communities

Another issue that is currently affecting many Indigenous communities on the North American continent is a low high school graduation rate among high school students, and a low rate of these students attending postsecondary education. According to the Postsecondary National Policy Instituted, only about half of all 18-24-year-old Indigenous students (19%) were enrolled in colleges, as compared to the overall U.S. population (41%). According to, Indigenous communities ‘have had one of the highest high school rates of any ethnic group in the nation’.

The lack of attainment of education could be seen as a very small issue as compared to the damage that residential schools have had in these communities. Usurpation through language and colonialism through education of native populations is nothing new, as presented by Shakespeare’s 1611 play The Tempest. Similarly, the ‘boarding-school era’ was a period in United States history from 1860 through 1978 was a way that colonizers could control the country’s “Indian problem” through minimizing the population’s culture and language.



Prominent Indigenous Writer & Poet – N. Scott Momaday


Faux Buffalo Hide Art with Motifs


Kiowa Koitsenko (Great Warriors)



Discussion Questions

  1. Why is it important to recognize prominent Indigenous academics like N. Scott Momaday? 
  2. What are some of the reasons as to why many Indigenous communities have low graduation rates?

Writing Prompts

What have been some of the long-term effects of residential schools on Indigenous communities? 



Work Cited

“Factsheets.” PNPI, 17 Nov. 2020,  

Flows, Capital. “5 Ways the Government Keeps Native Americans in Poverty.” Forbes, Forbes Magazine, 29 June 2021,

“Native American Schools Ponder, Assail Dropout Rates: Education World.” Native American Schools Ponder, Assail Dropout Rates | Education World,

Pember, Mary Annette. “Death by Civilization.” The Atlantic, Atlantic Media Company, 8 Mar. 2019,

Staff, DiversityInc. “The Biggest Issues Facing the Native American Community Right Now.” DiversityInc, 13 Jan. 2021,

“The Girl Who Loved Wild Horses.” Rarest Kind of Best, 15 June 2021,