Native Americans for Kids - The Daily Life of many different Indian tribes across the United States and Canada - How they were different, How they were the same Illustration

Daily Life in Olden Times
Native Americans for Kids

Come meet the early people of the Americas in olden times. Learn what people invented to make themselves happy and comfortable. Read fabulous myths! Play really fun games at school, at home, and online. Meet mischievous magical beings. Explore the daily life of those who lived in the Americas a long time ago - some of them right here, in your backyard.

Imagine 40,000 years ago ...

Northeast Woodland Indians

Iroquois Nation - What was the job of the False Face Society? Who were the Three Sisters? What were the Snow Snake Games? Who was Hiawatha? What was the League of Nations? What was wampum? Read the story of Wise Owl. Welcome to the Iroquois Nation in Olden Times.

Ojibwa/Chippewa - Why did the Ojibwa hide pebbles in moccasins? What is a Charcoal Sad Face? How do you play Butterfly Hide and Seek? What is a Dream Catcher? Who was The Invisible Warrior? Welcome to the Ojibwa / Chippewa Indians in Olden Times.

Southeast Woodland Indians

Cherokee Nation - Why did the Cherokee Indians have a red chief and a white chief? What is a Booger Ceremony? What techniques were invented by the Cherokee that made them successful in battle? Where is the Darkening Land? What is the Trail of Tears?

Seminole - What is the job of an animal spirit helper? Why did the Seminole people hang baby cradles from the rafters of their homes? What is a comfortable? Why were beads so important? Welcome to the Florida Everglade Seminole Indians in Olden Times.

The Great Plains Indians

Plains People - Why did the Plains people prefer tipis to houses? Name 72 things the Plains people made from buffalo. Why were horses called dogs? What were pictographs? Can you decode an ancient message? Why do the elders still speak of Clever Coyote with gratitude?

Sioux Nation - What could boys do when they reached their 10th birthday? What engagement present did the family of the bride receive? Why weren't kids given names when they were born? What did star quilts represent? What was the Seven Council Fires?

Southwest Indians

Anasazi/Pueblo/Hopi - Why did the Pueblo dig a hole in the middle of a secret underground room? Who were the giant Natackas? What are kachinas? How did the Pueblo get their name? Who were the Old Ones? What happened at a naming ceremony?

Apache - Why do Apache kids hunt for blue stones? What is a Wickiup? Who were the Devil Dancers? Learn how to play Apache toe and toss games. Read an Apache myth about Child of Water and Little Blue Rock. Welcome to the Southwest Apache Indians in Olden Times.

Navajo - When a young couple ate from the same basket, why did all their relatives lecture them? What is a Ketoh? Why did the Navajo make Sand Paintings and then destroy them before dark? What is a Blessingways? Welcome to the Southwest Navajo Indians in Olden Times.

Pacific Coastal Northwest Indians

Northwest Pacific Coastal - What made the Puget Sound Indian tribes "rich" in ancient times? Why were woven mats so important? How did totem poles get started? What could you buy with 5,000 blankets? What's a potlatch all about? Find out How Raven Stole Crow's Potlatch.

Inland Northwest People of the Plateau

Nez Perce and the Plateau People - Why did the People of the Plateau tie their babies to a board? Why did small children have to feed everyone in the village except themselves? What was a fishing station? What did the Plateau People believe was far more impotant than riches? What was the job of a Shaman? Come meet the clever, creative people who lived (mostly) in peace with their neighbors on the plateau between two huge mountain ranges, the Rockies and the Cascades.

California Indians

California Indians - Why was the bear doctor feared? What was the purpose of the Big Head Dance? Why did certain medicine men hunt rattlesnakes? Why did the Chumash need a ladder to get into bed? Come meet the people who lived in California in Olden Times.

Arctic/Far North Indians

Far North - What trick did the Kutchin people use on their enemies? How did these early people stop ghosts from entering their homes? What magical powers did the Inuit think their shamas had? What is the purpose of a finger mask? Welcome to Alaska Natives and the people of the Arctic and Far North in Olden Times.

Central & South American Indians

The Inca Empire - The Incas never invented the wheel. They never invented a system of writing. They had no use for money. Yet, high in the rugged Andes Mountains of South America, the Incas built thousands of miles of well-paved roads, kept accurate records, and enjoyed vast wealth. Everyone in the empire was well fed and no one was homeless. Meet the Children of the Sun.

The Maya Empire - One day, the Mayas appeared. 1500 years later, they disappeared. No one knows where they came from and no one knows where they went! During their stay, they build pyramids, temples, stelas, and ball courts. Explore Daily Life in the Maya Empire, read the adventures of The Hero Twins, and play a Game of Bul. Meet the People of the Corn.

The Aztecs - Why did the Aztecs search for 200 years to find the The Place of the Prickly Pear Cactus? What did conquered people have to pay in tribute? Why did the Aztecs build floating gardens? Read the story Journey of a Princess to discover how the Aztecs treated some very honored guests. Welcome to ancient Mexico.


Books we used:

  • American's Fascinating Indian Heritage, Reader's Digest, 1978

  • Indians of Yesterday by Marion E. Gridley, sponsored by the Indian Council Fire, 1940

  • Indians of the Americans, National Geographic Society, 1958

  • Indian Reservations, Bureau of Indian Affairs, Dept of the Interior, 1950

  • Questions on Indian Culture, by Dr. Ruth Underhill, University of Denver, Bureau of Indian Affairs, pamphlet, 1953

  • Dakota and Ojibwa People, Minnesota Historical Society, 1985

  • Regions Far and Near for a Changing World, Macmillan/McGraw-Hill, 1995

  • Seminole Music by Frances Densmore

Our special thanks to:

Washington State History Museum, Tacoma, WA, for our private tour, and an opportunity to learn a great deal about the early Americas. Thank you!

Dr. Adams. Over the years, Dr. Adams has been a consultant to the Sioux, Winnebago, Fox, and other tribes in the Midwest on community development. He also participated in a federal project for communication and values differences among cultures, resulting in a website, a multicultural toolkit.

Our special thanks to the many Native American people who do not wish their names to be listed. Information was shared generously with us. We are most grateful for it.

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