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Native Americans Original Natives of Colonial North Carolina

Students will explore different groups of Native Americans that inhabited the lands of North Carolina prior to the colonist's arrival. Students will also examine how colonists interacted with the Native Americans after the colonists arrived in North Carolina.

Grade Level 4th grade

Learning outcomes

Students will:

Teacher Planning

45 - 60 minutes

(This lesson could be broken into two days. One day could be spent learning about the different Native American groups and another day sharing information and learning about the colonists)



NC Colonial Records
This document discusses the fighting between the Catawba and Tuscarora. It also provides and interesting insight into the thoughts of the colonists regarding Native American groups. The document states that the colonists encourage the Native American groups to fight each other because they do not want them to unite against the colonists.
This is a law proposed in the general assembly regarding a policy for managing the Indians. It is the 50th entry in the document.
Discusses the Catawba land and a little about the Tuscarora
Shares the number of Native Americans in the different groups during colonial times
This document is written by a colonist that spent time with the Cherokee nation

Remind the students that prior to the arrival of the colonists the land that is now called North Carolina was inhabited by different Native American groups. These groups lived in different regions of the state. Prior to the arrival of the colonists, very little is known about the different groups because there was not a way to record information. Once the colonists arrived they began recording information in journals, letters, and even in official government documents. Using those sources we can learn about the different Native American groups that were here before the colonists arrived.

Divide the students into four groups; Cherokee, Catawba, Tuscarora, and Algonquian. Each set of students will be given a different Native American group to explore. Provide the groups copies of the Colonial records pertaining to their group. Students may also use some of the secondary sources suggested. The fourth grade North Carolina social studies book also has a section about Native American groups. The students may record what they learn on chart paper. After the groups have finished have each groups share what they learned with the entire class.

Together with the class talk with the children about how they think the Native Americans felt when they first saw the colonists. Then have the students think about what the colonists must of thought when they first saw the Native Americans. Talk about how what each group was thinking about the other probably influenced how they interacted. There are many examples of conflict between the colonists and the Native Americans. Most of these conflicts arouse over disputes regarding land. Share two of the documents from the Colonial records, one outlining the law about Native Americans and the other about Native American tribes being encouraged to fight amongst themselves. Talk with the students about the law and the informal policy. What do they think?

The group posters can be assessed for accuracy of information and quality of group work. Students could also write a journal entry detailing what they learned about each Native American group as well as how they feel about the interaction between the Native Americans and the colonists.

Supplemental Information
This site provides information about the different Native American groups found in North Carolina during colonial times.

NC curriculum alignment
Competency Goal 2: The learner will examine the importance of the role of ethnic groups and examine the multiple roles they have played in the development of North Carolina.


2.01 Locate and describe American Indians in North Carolina, past and present.

2.02 Trace the growth and development of immigration to North Carolina, over time from Europe, Asia, and Latin America.

2.03 Describe the similarities and differences among people of North Carolina, past and present.

2.04 Describe how different ethnic groups have influenced culture, customs and history of North Carolina.

3.02 Identify people, symbols, events, and documents associated with North Carolina's history.

Lesson plan created by Lara Willox