Introduction to Philanthropic Beliefs of Native Americans
  1. Strand PHIL.I Definitions of Philanthropy
    1. Standard DP 01. Define Philanthropy
      1. Benchmark E.1 Define philanthropy as the giving and sharing of time, talent, or treasure intended for the common good.
    2. Standard DP 02. Roles of Government, Business, and Philanthropy
      1. Benchmark E.6 Explain why acting philanthropically is good for the community, state, nation, or world.
  2. Strand PHIL.II Philanthropy and Civil Society
    1. Standard PCS 02. Diverse Cultures
      1. Benchmark E.3 Identify the similarities in philanthropic behavior among people of different cultural backgrounds.
    2. Standard PCS 06. Philanthropy in History
      1. Benchmark E.4 Describe an early example of philanthropy practiced in the indigenous culture.
      2. Benchmark E.6 Trace the historic roots of philanthropy in the nation's history.
      3. Benchmark E.7 Give examples of how indigenous traditions and immigrant traditions shaped philanthropy in the nation.
  3. Strand PHIL.III Philanthropy and the Individual
    1. Standard PI 01. Reasons for Individual Philanthropy
      1. Benchmark E.9 Give examples how people give time, talent or treasure in different cultures.

The purpose of this lesson is to examine the tradition of giving and sharing in early Native American communities and to help children understand and recognize philanthropy in other cultures.

PrintTwo to Three Forty-Five Minute Class Periods

The Learner will:

  • define the term philanthropy
  • list at least three traditions of Native American giving and sharing.
  • identify at least three philanthropic values of Native Americans.
  • Social Studies text or reference materials related to Native American giving and sharing
  • Native American Graphic Organizer (see Handout One) and Answer Key (see Handout Two).
  • Native Americans, Traditions of Giving and Sharing sheet (see Handout Three).



  1. Anticipatory Set:

  2. Before studying Native Americans, pose the question, "How were Native Americans helpful and giving?" Brainstorm ideas.

  3. Review the concept of philanthropy, sharing one's talents or treasure with a community to meet its needs.

  4. Begin study of Native Americans with social studies text or other instructional materials. In this study be sure to cover the Woodlands, Northwest, and Southwest Indians.

  5. As each of the three groups of Native Americans is discussed, include in the class discussion time for completing the appropriate sections in the Native American Graphic Organizer (see Handout One) as study continues. This should be accomplished by first allowing students to fill in their chart individually and then sharing their ideas with others in the class. Record these ideas on the board to produce a class list for each category.

  6. Read orally the Native American, Giving and Sharing sheet (see Handout Three).

  7. With the class, discuss the philanthropic aspects of Native American life. Some sample questions to facilitate discussion could include:

    • "Imagine living in a Native American community. What would be some of the community needs?"
    • "What action would a Native American community take to fulfill the need?
    • How is the tradition of giving and serving preserved for future generations?"
    • Compare the Native American's view of philanthropy to modern society's view.

Teacher observation of student participation. Ask students to write examples of giving and sharing for one (or more) of the Native American groups discussed in the graphic organizer. Evaluate based on completeness and accuracy relative to the list produced in the class discussions. Ask students to write a response to one of the questions used in the discussion of the Native American, Giving and Sharing sheet (see Handout Three). Direct students to make a Three-Frame Picture.The first frame should depict a Native American community need.The second frame should show who is fulfilling the need.The third frame indicates the affects of the action on the community. Instruct students to illustrate a community need, a person fulfilling that need, and how that action affects the future. 3 points: Comic strip depicts a philanthropic Native American scene. The picture shows a community need, includes the person who fulfills the need, and indicates how the action affects the future. 2 points: Comic strip has two of the three requirements. 1 point:Comic strip has one of the three requirements.