Native American Poetry Lesson Plan

Instructor: Christopher Muscato

Chris has a master's degree in history and teaches at the University of Northern Colorado.

With this lesson plan, your students will be exposed to the central themes and influences of Native American poetry. They will then conduct group activities to analyze and interpret notable poetic works.

Learning Objectives

Upon completion of this lesson, students will be able to:

  • Communicate the central themes and stylistic trends of Native American poetry
  • Discuss the cultural context and influences of Native American poetry
  • Analyze the content and symbolism of Native American poetry


60-90 minutes or two days of 30-45 minutes

Curriculum Standards


Determine two or more themes or central ideas of a text and analyze their development over the course of the text, including how they interact and build on one another to produce a complex account; provide an objective summary of the text.


Determine the meaning of words and phrases as they are used in the text, including figurative and connotative meanings; analyze the impact of specific word choices on meaning and tone, including words with multiple meanings or language that is particularly fresh, engaging, or beautiful. (Include Shakespeare as well as other authors.)


Analyze how an author's choices concerning how to structure specific parts of a text (e.g., the choice of where to begin or end a story, the choice to provide a comedic or tragic resolution) contribute to its overall structure and meaning as well as its aesthetic impact.


  • Printed copies of Native American Poetry: Traditional Poems & Poets and Lesson Quiz
  • A single printed packet of the full versions of Native American poems. Packets should include:
    • ''The Sacred Warrior'' (Traditional)
    • ''To Walk the Red Road'' (Traditional)
    • A poem by N. Scott Momaday
    • A poem by Sherman Alexie
    • A poem by James Welch
    • A poem by Kimberly Blaeser

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