Elementary Pathway 2

Office of Native Education Branding

Corresponding Videos

Long Before We Were Born, Chapters 7 and 8

Native American Stories and Science Education Connections: (Scroll down to "Native American Stories and Science Education Connections." ) Mr. Fernandes has been given permission by the tribes to tell these stories. These stories have been aligned with the Next Generation Science Standards and the Environmental and Sustainability Education Standards.

Honoring the Salmon

Historical Era

Time Immemorial to Present

Grade Levels: K-3

"Our elders tell us that long ago, our people made a treaty with the salmon nations: Chinook, Coho, Sockeye, Pink, Chum, and Steelhead. It was an agreement to always treat the salmon with respect, and to take care of their home, the watersheds where we all live." -Billy Frank, Jr. (1994, Excerpt from "Tell the Truth")

STI Unit Overview

Salmon play an important role in the ways of life, culture, history, and resilience of the tribes of this region. The tribes of Washington State and the Pacific Northwest have always depended on salmon as a primary source of food. Overfishing, roads, dams, pollution, and other human practices have been a growing threat to the survival of salmon, which has impacted fishing, salmon-eaters, and the environment. These lessons introduce to children the role of salmon in the history and culture of the first peoples of our region.

The Honoring the Salmon lessons are designed to be taught as a series but can also be taught individually, adapted for each grade level, K-3. They can easily be integrated into science units on salmon, water or watersheds. Content knowledge from these lessons can provide background knowledge for 3rd grade and 4th grade Social Studies CBAs.

NOTE: These lessons are designed around fiction and non-fiction books that are not a part of the STI curriculum. Most of them are easily available through public libraries. Some may need to be purchased.

Essential Questions

  1. How does physical geography affect Northwest Tribes' culture, economy, and where they choose to settle and trade? Grades 2/3
  2. What are the ways in which Tribes respond to the threats and outside pressure to extinguish their cultures and independence? Grades 2/3
  3. What do local tribes do to meet the challenges of reservation life; and, as sovereign nations, do to meet the economic and cultural needs of their Tribal communities? Grades K-3

Enduring Understandings

  • Salmon are an important natural, cultural, and economic resource for Native and non-Native people of our region.
  • Salmon have played a critical role as a way of life and survival resource for the First Peoples of the Pacific Northwest "since time immemorial."
  • The tribes of the Pacific Northwest have traditions and practices honoring salmon that have been passed down through generations. By learning about the traditions of the First Peoples of our place, not only do we learn about history, we learn how we can contribute to the survival and sustainability of our place.

Learning Goals

Students will:

  • Learn about cultural traditions of the first peoples in this region. (K-3)
  • Share and learn about the role of traditions in family and culture. (K-3)
  • Listen to and discuss traditional salmon stories from two Pacific Northwest tribes.
  • Tell, retell, and/or write stories about salmon. (K-3)
  • Identify ways in which human behavior has had a significant impact on the survival of salmon. (2-3)
  • Identify ways in which the natural environment of our place creates and sustains habitat for salmon. (2-3)
  • Listen to and read traditional stories of how things came to be. (2-3)
  • Identify ways in which humans can contribute to the sustainability of salmon. (2-3)

Standards for Social Studies, English Language Arts, Environmental and Sustainability Education, and Social Emotional Learning

Unit Developed By

Michi Thacker