Traditions of Tribal Sharing

3, 4, 5

This lesson gives examples of the tradition of Native American tribal giving and sharing and helps students identify talents they possess that could be used to help others.

Lesson Rating 
PrintOne 45-Minute Class Session

The learner will:

  • define the term philanthropy as "private action for the common good."
  • identify the philanthropic actions of a character in a fiction story about Native Americans.
  • cite examples of Native American giving and sharing.
  • illustrate an attribute they possess and would use to make a contribution to a world culture.
  • a social studies text that includes information about the traditions of Native Americans
  • copy of handout: Native Americans, Traditions of Tribal Sharing
  • fiction or non-fiction stories of Native Americans whose character(s) demonstrate private action for the public or common good.
  • De Paola, Tomie. The Legend of the Indian Paintbrush. Paper Star, 1996. ISBN: 0698113608.
  • Goble, Paul. The Gift of the Sacred Dog: Story and Illustrations (Reading Rainbow Book). Aladdin Paperbacks Reprint Edition, 1984. ISBN: 0020432801.
  • DePaolo, Tomie. The Legend of the Bluebonnet. Paper Star, 1996. ISBN: 0698113594.


  1. Anticipatory Set:

    Review the term philanthropy (private action for the common good). As you study the history of your community and the influence of Native Americans, pose the question: "How were Native Americans helpful and generous?" Brainstorm ideas.

  2. Read and discuss one fiction or non-fiction book (see Bibliography).

  3. Introduce vocabulary word attribute: a quality or characteristic belonging to a person or thing.

  4. Read and discuss Native Americans, Traditions of Tribal Sharing (handout). Discuss the following questions:

    1. What gift would you give another?
    2. What would you contribute to a world culture if you could give your finest attribute?
  5. Brainstorm attributes and list on chart paper or blackboard. Examples of attributes might include: art, music, athletics, cooking, and craftsmanship, as well as some non-material attributes such as honesty, hard work, hospitality, respect, sense of adventure, loyalty, family loyalty.

  6. Ask students to choose one attribute they possess and would offer as a gift or contribution to a world culture.

Philanthropy Framework

  1. Strand PHIL.II Philanthropy and Civil Society
    1. Standard PCS 02. Diverse Cultures
      1. Benchmark E.1 Give examples of philanthropic traditions of diverse cultures.