Traditions of Tribal Sharing

3, 4, 5

To introduce students to the tradition of Native American tribal giving and sharing and help students identify talents they possess that could be used to help others.

Lesson Rating 
Print2-3 class periods

The learnerwill:

  • review the term "philanthropy" by reciting the definition-"private action for the common good."
  • through class discussion, identify the philanthropic actions of a character in a fiction story about Native Americans.
  • through class discussion, cite examples of Native American giving and sharing.
  • list and illustrate an attribute they possess and would use to make a contribution to a world culture.
  • Any social studies text that includes information about the traditions of Native Americans
  • Native Americans, Traditions of Tribal Sharing (see Attachment One).
  • 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) by writing the term on the blackboard and having students recite the definition aloud. As you study the history of your community and the Native Americans, pose the question: "How were Native Americans helpful and giving?" Brainstorm ideas.


  2. Read and discuss one or more fiction or non-fiction stories (see Bibliographic References).

    • Introduce vocabulary: attribute: a quality or characteristic belonging to a person or thing
    • Read and discuss Native Americans, Traditions of Tribal Sharing information sheet (see Attachment One). Place on overhead for class to read silently as teacher reads aloud.
    • 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?
    • 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.
    • Ask students to choose one attribute they possess and would offer as a gift or contribution to a world culture.

Drawing clearly shows student's attribute used to help others.

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.