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In this lesson, the students will learn one of the origin stories of the Eastern Dakota, the Bdewakantonwan or Mdewakantonwan who have lived in Minnesota. They will also look closely at the land ethics usually found within creation stories and how these beliefs relate to the identity of the tribe.
American Indian tribes, like many other peoples, have explanations for how they originated as a distinct, unique people. Many stories tell of powerful beings that created peoples' places in the world. The origin stories relate how the universe and the earth were created and how time and space were established. Inherent in the story is a reverence for the place or location where ancestors of the tribe were created. From these stories, tribes derived laws, values, traditions and ceremonies. Many origin stories stressed kindness, generosity, cooperation and respect for the earth. In these stories, the universe could not be created without these teachings.
Many tribal individuals consider their beliefs important, everyday elements that contribute to a rich tradition and cultural heritage. These stories are represented in ceremonies and teachings. They are passed on to each new generation. The beliefs and traditions connect people to the land, plant life, all living creatures and to the mysteries of birth, life, death and the spirit world. Many Native people closely compare these connections to the connections they have with family and relatives.
There are as many different origin stories as there are different cultures and peoples. In this lesson, the students will learn one origin story of the Eastern Dakota who lived in Minnesota. They will learn about the Dakota word, Bdote, which means “where two waters come together.” They will also look closely at the land ethics usually found within creation stories and how these beliefs relate to the identity of the tribe.
This lesson aligns with RH1, RH2, RH4.
RH1 Cite specific textual evidence to support analysis of primary and secondary sources.
RH2 Determine the central ideas or information of a primary or secondary source; provide an accurate summary of the source distinct from prior knowledge or opinions.
RH4 Determine the meaning of words and phrases as they are used in a text, including vocabulary specific to domains related to history/social studies.