Title of Lesson: Mapping the Abenaki Homeland
Overview: In this lesson, students create a map of the Abenaki homeland, illustrating it
with Abenaki place names.
Who first lived in the area we now call New Hampshire/Vermont?
Can we find evidence of first peoples on today's maps?
The Abenaki first lived in the area we now call new Hampshire/Vermont.
The Abenaki oriented their worldview toward the rising sun.
Native American place names are spread across the region.
These names reflect certain qualities: “wisdom sits in places.” - Apache Elder
Who first lived in the area we now call New Hampshire and Vermont?
Blank map of Abenaki Homeland
Abenaki Homeland Map
(for teacher reference)
- Introduction discussion
Hand out the blank map of the Abenaki Homeland. This map should be oriented
in “landscape” format with the coast ‘away’ from students, the title line ‘towards’ them,
and the line cutting across the middle of the page, left to right. This is the Connecticut
River. There are grids on this map to help with placing Abenaki locations (and later
colonies and specific town)s.
- Ask students to describe local Abenaki place names they know.
- Have students take out a blue colored pencil or crayon and color in the water on the
map—the Atlantic Ocean on top and to the right; and then the Connecticut River
moving across the map.
- Discuss with students where the sun rises (east) and sets (west). Together, note that
the Atlantic Ocean (at the top of the page) is east. Have students mark “East” on
the edge of the paper and draw in a rising sun. Label the sun area with Wôbanakiak
(or Abenaki) which means “People of the dawn”. Label the Connecticut River
with “Kwanitekw” and it’s translation “long river.”
- Choose some other place names for students to write onto the maps. Have students
illustrate each place name. Use the grids to help them put place names in the correct
What are marks some of the boundaries of the Abenaki homeland? Waterways.
Why might that be?
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