4th Grade ESL Tennessee History
Part One: Two Worlds

    Do you remember what it was like to move to Tennessee?

People spoke a different language. They ate unusual food. Their way of life was not the same as yours.

When Europeans came to Tennessee, they also had to adjust to the ways of the first Tennesseans, Native Americans.

    Tell me more about Tennessee's Native Americans.

By the 1600s, there were four Native American tribes living in Tennessee.
1) Cherokee -- They lived in East Tennessee.
2) Creek -- They lived in the southern part of Middle Tennessee.
3) Chickasaw -- They lived in West Tennessee.
4) Shawnee -- They lived in the northern part of Middle Tennessee.

Study the map. See where each tribe lived.

     How were the Europeans and Native Americans different?

White European Settlers
Native Americans
Not Written
Owned Land
Didn't believe in owning land
Made of metal
Made of stone or wood
Made of cotton
Made of animal skins
Various religious beliefs
Used guns
Used bow and arrow, blowgun and tomahawk

Our New Tennessee History Words

   * Europeans: People who are born in the continent of Europe are called Europeans.

   * adjust: When you adjust to something, you get used to it.

   * Native Americans: The first people to live in America are called Native Americans.

   * tribes: Tribes are made up of people who share the same language, tradition and ancestors.

     Tell me more about the Cherokees

Before the white settlers came to America, there were almost 30,000 Cherokee living in the southeastern part of the United States.

     How did they live?

1) The Cherokee lived in small villages located next to rivers. Why did they live near the river?

2) Each family lived in a small house made of mud and logs. In the winter, they would live in another house that was covered with earth.

3) Every village had a council house. This house was built in the shape of a circle. The Cherokees met in the council house for village meetings and for religious ceremonies.

4) Cherokees were also members of a special clan within the tribe. There were seven clans: Wolf, Bear, Deer, Bird, Wild Potato, Blue and Longhair. Where might they get these names? Cherokees from the same clan were not allowed to marry each other.

5) The villages had interesting names such as Chilhowee and Tanasee.

6) The state of Tennessee was named for the village of Tanasee.

There is a Tennessee History for Kids video about Cherokee culture, called "Three Sisters and the Little Brother of War. Click here to see it using Quicktime; here using Windows Media Player; and here on youtube.
   What was it like to be a Cherokee boy?

1) Your mother's mother named you.

2) You were taught to make a blowgun and darts so that you could hunt wild animals such as squirrels, rabbits and birds.

3) You learned to make weapons from flint and carve tools from wood.

4) You would help the adults build cabins and carve canoes from poplar wood. You would also join the men of the village on hunting trips.

     What was it like to be a Cherokee girl?

This Cherokee woman is weaving a basket out of wood.
1) You also received your name from your mother's mother.

2) You and your mother were in charge of your household.

3) You were taught to weave baskets from wood, make jewelry, cook and take care of your younger brothers and sisters.

4) When you cooked a meal, you would eat wild game (deer, buffalo and squirrel) and vegetables (corn, beans and squash). You had very few spices to cook with.

     Were there family rules?

Yes! You had to respect your elders and your parents.

You were required to listen carefully at the tribal meetings.

Life was very communal. People worked closely together.

Why would communal living be important?

Our New
Tennessee History Words

  * southeastern: The southeastern part of the United States includes the states of 
   Tennessee, Kentucky, North Carolina, South Carolina, Mississippi,
   Alabama, Georgia and Florida.

  * village: A village is a small group of houses and the people who live there

  * council house: The Cherokee would meet in the council house for important meetings.

  * clan: A clan is a smaller group within a tribe.

  * household: A household is everyone living in one house

  * communal: When you work together in order to help each other, you are communal.

  Click here to go to the next section.