Native Americans (USA), Aboriginal Cultures (Australia), Maori (New Zealand)


We’ve been busy comparing three cultures from around the globe.   With the help of Ross Mannell we explored the Aboriginal cultures in Australia, the Maori cultures in New Zealand and the Native Americans in the USA.  We made pictures of what we thought life would look like for the different groups.

What do they all have in common?  What are the differences?

  1. They all valued the land and took care of it.   
  2. They respect and honor nature and animals.
  3. They are spiritual and have stories told from one generation to the next.
  4. They  only used what they needed .  They were hunters, gathers and some tribes  practiced agriculture and fishing.
  5. They often celebrated with dances and song.
  6. Their homes were made  from twigs, grasses, sticks and things from nature.
  7. They were the first people in their country.
  8. Each group/tribe/clan lived in different places so they had different tools, weapons, clothes, homes and foods depending on what area of the country they were from.
  9. Unlike Native Americans, no formal treaties existed with Aboriginal people. It’s only in modern times the status of Aboriginal people as the first Australians has been recognized through land rites and respect of their culture.  They told stories on bark, cave walls and rocks with their drawings.   Men could play the didgeridoo and women could not.   They hunted with spears and boomerangs.     Each clan had a name.  Animals were done with dot art.  Turtles, kangaroos, dingos, emus were painted on the cave walls and used on boomerangs.
  10. The Maori belong to the Polynesian group.  They believed they were the caretakers of the land for the next generation.  They shared dreamtime stories that told about creation and how things came to be.   They celebrate with dances and songs.   They wear tattoos on their faces and bodies.  There are many different clans.

Some facts about the Cherokee one Native American/American Indian tribe… in North Carolina.

  • The Cherokee Indians are believed to have broken away from the Iroquois.
  • The Cherokee Nation once stretched from the Ohio River to South Carolina
  • They raised crops of corn, beans and melon (known as the 3 sisters) & tobacco.  The corn provided stalks up which the beans could grow; the beans added nourishing nitrogen to the soil; the squash spread out and prevented weeds from taking over .  (We saw this in the BrainPop Jr. video about Native Americans helping the Pilgrims with our Thanksgiving study.)
  • The Cherokee hunted deer, bear and gathered plants for food and trade.
  • I-85 (runs through Charlotte near Monroe NC) use to be an old Indian route used for trade
  • The Cherokee language has an innovative writing system that was invented by the Cherokee scholar Sequoyah.  Sequoyah’s writing system is a syllabary. That means one character represents each syllable. (Another language that uses a syllabary today is Japanese.)
  • Like their distant cousins the Iroquois,  the Cherokee Indians had an even division of power between men and women.  Cherokee men were in charge of hunting, war, and diplomacy. Cherokee women were in charge of farming, property, and family. Men made political decisions for the tribe, and women made social decisions for the clans. Chiefs were men, and landowners were women. Both genders took part in storytelling, artwork and music, and traditional medicine.  Now women can be chiefs.  Men can be farmers.
  • Cherokee houses were made of river cane and plaster, with thatched roofs.
  • There are many traditional Cherokee legends and fairy tales. Story-telling is very important to the Cherokee Indian culture.  ( The Maori culture has their dreamtime stories about creation and how things came to be).
  • Creeks, Chicksaws, and Shawnees were other tribes that were sometimes enemies and sometimes friends.
  • Each Cherokee tribe has its own government, laws, police, and services, just like a small country.  However, Cherokee Indians are also US citizens and must obey American law.
  • During the 1800’s, the US government created an “Indian Territory” in Oklahoma and sent all the eastern Native American tribes to live there. This was called the Trail of Tears and many Cherokee died on the journey there.   Some tribes willingly agreed to this plan. Other tribes didn’t want to go, and the American army forced them. The Cherokee tribe was one of the largest eastern tribes, and they didn’t want to leave their homeland.  Some Cherokee are still located in North Carolina along with Oklahoma.  The ones in North Carolina live on a reservation.   They still hold ceremonies  make baskets and art work and have a large tourist industry with visitors each year to the mountains of North Carolina.
  • Traditional Cherokee art  included pipe craving , river cane baskets,  gourd art, and pottery. After moving to Oklahoma, the Cherokees couldn’t get the materials they used to use for traditional crafts, so they concentrated on other crafts like beadwork and blankets.
  • Cherokee (Tsalagi) language is spoken.
  • What do you think environmentally friendly farming – sustainable farming   

  •     Is it new or an old concept from the past?  Do you think these groups practiced this before it became popular with today’s society?

  • Do you think the landforms determined how these different groups lived and what they believed?

  • What is your opinion about our responsibility to the land, plants and animals found on it?

15 thoughts on “Native Americans (USA), Aboriginal Cultures (Australia), Maori (New Zealand)

  1. Hi, My name is zac. We have heaps of maori people in our class i am maori too. I s any one in your class maori? laters

    • Hi Zac,
      No one is Maori but we have skyped with a teacher from New Zealand that taught us a Maori song. Her name is Ula Lologa and she is visiting in the US to be a teacher.

      Did you know that Snail and Whale came to visit with us last year at Rocky River? Well not the students in our room now but the ones that Mrs. Todd had last year that are now in third grade.

  2. Hi my name is regan from Russell Street School New Zealand. I like your thinking for your learning.


  3. Hi, my name is Nathanael from Russellst School Palmerston North New Zealand.

    We know a lot of flags,country and capital. I know what maps look like as well.

  4. Hi, my name is Adarsh from Russell street

    did you know that im polynesian I am Fijian I liked your information that you guys wrote i learnt lots of things

    bye for now.

    • Hi Adarsh,
      Where did you move from? Do you know much about Fiji? Can you tell us anything interesting about it? Do you speak another language?

  5. Hi there my name is Grace from room 3/3D in the NZ. Your post looks really cool. I read some of it and you know a lot about the NZ 😀
    By Grace 😀 😀

  6. Hi, I’m Liam from New Zealand, Palmerston North 3D

    Its AMAZING that you know almost more than me!


    • Hi Liam,
      We probably don’t know more about all of New Zealand. We only looked at volcanoes and the Maori cultures.

      What is a favorite topic to learn about for you?

  7. Hi, my name is zavier and I go to Russell Street School in New Zealand in Palmerston North.

    Did you no that I’m sort of a desert person from a country in Australia and it was very hot as in the desert.

    I have a question for you guys? Is there any different languages of some other people.

    Bye bye talk to you soon.

    • Hi Zavier,
      What do you mean you are sort of a desert person? What country in Australia? Is it Queensland, Victoria, Tasmania or New South Wales?

      Some of us speak Spanish. People in the US speak several languages.

  8. Hi I am Callum from Palmerston North New Zealand Russell Street School.
    I think that the friendly farming is awesome. Those drawings are so cool what did you use to make the art pitchers?
    By From Callum.

    • Hi Callum,
      Just crayons and paper. Thank you for the compliment. Have you ever grown plants or vegetables?

  9. Hi,
    I am Moari and would like to give you a little more knowledge.
    Maori consist of 2 parts, part 2 Polynesians as they were voyagers and settled in New Zealand but it is hard to accurately name the part 1 familys still tell tales of the short blonde hair green eyed maoris and the morioris, DNA test in the still living blonde haired green eyed brown coloured skin maori familys say they are Persians and I do think that would be right the Polynesian in a maori is alot like Hawaiians, language, land and spiritual beliefs they lived close to the water where as the Persians side was more inland they were the first to settle in NewZealand story’s tell of the night hunters where they hunted flightness kiwis and other nocturnal birds it’s said by families of the maoris that the two cultures binded as one and created there own very distinct culture

    It is the lands that formed the ways of our culture what the land grew, species of the land birds and sea life.

    And it is the colonisation of the British that brought dear to Roam free and created our killing sport, that used the land to farm, shipping in cows, lamb, pigs and brought pest over in there ships.

    I do beleive maori and Cherokee share similaritys from our Asian and Indian ancestors, thousands of years of voyagers are in US all for that we are connected to the water the stars the land our universe.

    I could spend a year writing about us but will leave it there.
    Samantha front nga puhi the cannibal warriors from the top of new zealand.

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