An ancient culture that lived in the northern part of the southwestern United States from approximately 300 AD to 1350 AD. They are referred to as the Fremont Indians because many of their archeological sites were found along the Fremont river in the state of Utah. They were more likely to stay in one place than most of the native people of the area. They are unique in that they weren’t entirely nomadic but were farmers.
- The Fremont people did participate in hunting and gathering, but they also farmed corn, beans, and squash. This allowed them to stay in an area for a long time.
- The style of homes they built are called pit houses. These houses were built half below the ground in a hole or pit. They had a roof covered with sticks, bark, and brush that was covered with earth. These houses kept the inhabitants warm during the winter.
- The Fremonts are a mysterious people. They are prehistoric, which means nothing was written by them. We have to learn about them by what they left behind which leaves many questions unanswered.
- These people created beautiful and unique rock art, basketry, pottery, and figurines. These relics show that they were not only concerned with function, but also with symbolism, beauty, and art. The figurines were possibly used in ceremonies.
- They hunted deer, bighorn sheep, rabbits and rodents using traps, bow and arrow, and atlatls or throwing sticks. They also caught fish using nets and fishhooks.
- The Fremont used willow, yucca, milkweed, and other native fibers available to make their unique style of basketry referred to as one-rod-and-bundle. These baskets were very tightly woven. They also wore moccasins.
- Their rock art depicts human-like forms that are trapezoid shaped and have arms, legs, and fingers. The figures are often elaborately dressed with headdresses, earrings, and necklaces. The art also depicts many animal-like figures including dogs, bighorn sheep, deer, birds, snakes, and lizards. Geometric shapes are also common.
- These people were closely tied to nature and lived in small groups of several families.
Archeology: The study of people who lived in the past through analyzing the things they left behind.
Ceremony: An event or ritual often done in a serious way to show respect and honor.
Questions and Answers
What happened to the Fremont people?
Answer: They seem to have disappeared around the year 1300 AD. The climate seems to have changed around that time making farming difficult. Also, other tribes moved into the area. Archeologists don’t know whether the Fremont died off or were assimilated into other tribes.
Learn more about the Freemont culture by watching this video.
Drawings that are chipped out of the stone or painted on with natural pigments can be found throughout the southwestern part of the United States, These mysterious drawings give us a peek into the lives of the people who lived there anciently.
- Pictures that are painted onto the rock are called pictographs. The native people used charcoal from a fire, blood from a hunted animal, and minerals. They painted with their finger or used brushes made from plants or animal hairs.
- Pictures that are chipped into the rock are called pictographs. These pictures generally are more durable than pictographs. The desert rock developed a dark varnish over time and the natives chipped into the sandstone with a harder rock.
- Most of the rock art in the Southwest is considered to have been created by the Freemont and Anasazi Indians. The Anasazi lived as early as 1500 BCE, and the Freemont lived between 700 and 1300 CE.
- The oldest rock art of the American Southwest was made by peoples of the archaic period. These images are thousands of years old. One of the best examples of archaic art is in central Utah and was made by the Barrier Canyon people who were nomadic hunter-gatherers.
- Many archeologists do not believe the rock art was decorative. They think it was made to give information; showing where to find water, marking trails, or as calendars; for religious purposes, for prayers, or marking sacred spots; or territorial, as a warning against trespassing.
- The rock art styles vary according to the areas they are found and the people to whom they are attributed. Some rock art is very realistic, people and animals are recognizable. Other rock art is more abstract with mystical figures.
- Scientists think that some rock art images are connected to specific events. They believe, for example, that the huge sunburst in Chaco Canyon represents the supernova that happened in 1054 CE. This also gives a date to the art.
- The rock art has been best preserved when it is in caves, in the shelter of a canyon, and in an arid climate.
Archeologist: A scientist who studies prehistoric people and their culture through physical remains.
Sandstone: A sedimentary rock made of compacted sand.
Questions and Answers
Questions: What animals are depicted in the rock art of the American Southwest?
Answer: The people drew and painted pictures of the animals they were familiar with such as; snakes, lizards, sheep, and elk.
Learn more about rock art and the Rochester Panel in Central Utah.
In June 1876, a fierce battle was fought along the Little Bighorn River in what is now the state of Montana. This was one of the last battles between the United States Army and nomadic western tribes.
In order to remember the U.S. soldiers and Native Americans who died there, a national monument has been established.
- This national monument is located in southeastern Montana east of Billings and inside the Crow Reservation land.
- The Battle of Little Bighorn was fought between tribes of the Plains Indians; including the Lakota Sioux, the Cheyenne, and the Arapaho, and the U.S. soldiers from the Seventh Cavalry led by George Armstrong Custer.
- The battle is also known as Custer’s Last Stand and was referred to by the Native Americans as the Battle of the Greasy Grass because of the way the grass looked in the area.
- The site includes the Custer National Cemetery and the sites where Marcus Reno and Fredrick Benteen’s armies fought are also part of the monument.
- Captain George K. Sanderson and the 11th infantry created the first memorial in 1879 when they made sure all the soldiers’ bodies were buried and formed a mound at the top of the hill with wood.
- In July of 1881 a 14 ft. granite obelisk monument was erected on Last Stand Hill. The remains of the fallen soldiers had also been removed to that site, and their names are engraven on the monument.
- The monument has been controversial. General Custer has been praised as an American hero, but his actions are also considered oppressive and cruel to the natives.
- The national monument was originally called Custer Battlefield National Monument and was changed in 1991 to its current name to honor all who died in the battle.
- Memorials now stand for the fallen of the Native American tribes and the land is now considered sacred by both groups of people.
Obelisk: A four sided pillar that tapers toward the top and ends with a pyramid.
Questions and Answers
Question: Are the Native Americans honored at the national monument?
Answer: Originally only the fallen U.S. soldiers were honored at the site. As we have gained more understanding about the battle and compassion for the natives, memorials to the fallen Native Americans have been added to the national monument.
Learn more about the Little Bighorn Battlefield National Monument.
The Battle of the Little Bighorn was fought on June 25th and 26th, 1876 between the US military and a group of Native American tribes. It took place on the Little Bighorn River in what is now south-central Montana.
The battle was referred to as the Battle of Greasy Grass by the natives and is often referred to as Custer’s Last Stand.
- The United States government had signed an agreement in 1868 giving the Lakota Sioux and Arapaho Indians the western half of present-day South Dakota. Some of the leaders signed the treaty, but Chief Crazy Horse and Sitting Bull refused.
- Tension grew between the Native American tribes and the United States government. Being assigned to reservations was contrary to the native’s nomadic way of life. This attempt by the government to control them caused a lot of fighting.
- After the United States had given the land of the Black Hills to the native tribes, Lieutenant George Armstrong Custer was asked to explore the area, mapping it out and identifying natural resources. When gold was found, the government wanted to buy back what was known as the Great Sioux Reservation. The Sioux did not want to sell.
- Members of the, usually independent, tribes of the Plains Indians had recently united for their Sun Dance Ceremony, which is a religious ceremony to celebrate their common beliefs about the universe, prayer, and sacrifice. Therefore, thousands of them were near the Little Bighorn River.
- Members of the U.S. Cavalry, under General Custer, were sent to attack the natives in order to keep them from scattering. They split up and Major Marcus Reno approached the native village first with his army. When he saw that there were many more warriors than he expected, he and his army retreated. Some were killed.
- General Custer hoped to make a surprise attack on the village, but some of the members saw the U.S. soldiers. Custer chose to attack immediately. He thought there were only a few hundred warriors, but there were thousands. He and his over 200 men were all killed in a short amount of time.
- This battle was a victory for the Plains Indians, but they ultimately lost the conflict with the U.S. government, lost the Black Hills land, and were forced onto reservations.
Plains Indians: The various tribes of Native Americans who historically lived in the central plains of the United States and Canada.
Reservation: A reservation is a portion of land set aside by the United States government for Native Americans. The land is managed under the U.S. Bureau of Indian Affairs.
Questions and Answers
Question: Did Chief Sitting Bull have a vision?
Answer: Yes. Chief Sitting Bull had a vision wherein he saw U.S. soldiers falling from the sky and saw his people having a great victory.
Learn more about the Battle of the Little Bighorn.
Joe Biden is the 46th president of the United States. His presidential term began in January 2021, and he has a long history in politics. He was elected as senator in the state of Delaware at age 29 and was re-elected to this position six times.
He left the Senate when he became vice president of the United States in 2009 under President Barack Obama.
- Joe Biden grew up in a middle-class family in Scranton, Pennsylvania, and New Castle County, Deleware.
- Biden is the oldest president in American History. He was 78 when elected president, and this was the third time he had run for president.
- Biden was a stutterer as a child and into his 20’s. He was bullied because of his difficulty with speech. He overcame the problem by himself by reciting Irish poetry in front of a mirror.
- He graduated from the University of Delaware when he was 23 and from law school at Syracuse University in New York when he was 26.
- Biden married Neilia Hunter in 1966 and they later had three children, two boys and one girl. In 1972, Neilia and their one-year-old daughter were killed in a tragic car accident. The two little boys were injured.
- Joe Biden married Jill Jacobs in 1977 and they have one daughter together. Jill taught English and reading in high schools for 13 years and is currently a college English professor.
- Biden played as wide receiver and halfback on his high school football team. One year they were undefeated and Joe was a leading scorer.
- Biden is Catholic and regularly attends Sunday Mass. He is the second Catholic U.S. president, after John F. Kennedy.
- He is a car enthusiast. His father gave him a 1067 Corvette Stingray as a wedding present and he still drives it.
- Joe Biden doesn’t drink alcohol or smoke, and he loves ice cream.
- Biden is very close with his family and has seven grandchildren. He loves keeping in contact with his grandchildren and they helped with his presidential campaign.
- Stutterer: Someone who has a disorder that makes it difficult to speak smoothly. They often pause and repeat syllables. Stutterers know what they want to say, they just have a hard time saying it.
- Mass: The main worship service of the Catholic Church.
- Senator: A person who works in government to represent their state.
Questions and Answers
Question: How long will Joe Biden be the president of the United States?
Answer: Joe Biden will be the president of the United States for four years. After four years, he can choose to run again for a second four-year term. Eight years is the maximum amount of time someone can be president.
Watch a video about President Joe Biden
Joe Biden True or False Worksheet
Kamala Harris is the 49th vice president of the United States and is the first female ever to serve in this position. She also makes history by being the first African American and the first Asian American to be vice president. She serves under President Joe Biden.
- Before becoming vice president, Kamala Harris served two terms as attorney general of California and also as a United States Senator.
- Kamala Harris is the daughter of two immigrants. Her mother is originally from India, and her father is originally from Jamaica.
- Harris chose to run for president of the United States in 2020. She lost to Joe Biden as the Democrat candidate, but then he chose her as his running mate.
- The name “Kamala” comes from the Sanskrit word for lotus and also is the name for a Hindu deity. She was given this name to help her remember her cultural identity.
- Harris is the oldest of two children. Her parents were divorced when she was seven years old. She spent most of her time with her mother and visited her father during vacations and summers.
- She lived in Montreal Canada during junior high and high school where her mother worked on research at a hospital and taught at a university.
- Kamala Harris was the first woman and person of color to be the district attorney in San Franscisco. She was the first woman and black person to be the attorney general of California, and the first black senator from California.
- Harris is married to an attorney named Doug Emhoff and is a step mother to his two children.
- She loves to cook and is an avid reader.
- Kamala Harris has written a children’s book called “Superheros are Everywhere.”
- Immigrant: A person who comes to live permanently in a different country.
- Sanskrit: A classical language of South Asia.
- State Attorney General: The top legal officer for the sate and a lawyer for its citizens.
Questions and Answers
Question: How does a politician become the vice president.
Answer: Candidates for president are nominated by the major political parties. These nominees choose the person they want to run with them in the position of vice president. They are called running mates.
Listen to Kamala Harris reading the book she wrote for children.
Louisa May Alcott’s Orchard House
Louisa May Alcott’s father, Amos Bronson Alcott purchased a manor on 12 acres in 1857. After years of repeatedly moving, the Alcott family was delighted to have a permanent home. Today this home is a museum that honors Louisa May Alcott, author of Little Women, and her family.
- Alcott purchased the property for $945. The manor house was built in the 1660s. He moved a small farmhouse and added it to the manor to make a larger home.
- Louisa’s father believed apples were a perfect food and planted an orchard with 40 apple trees. This is why the property is called “Orchard House.”
- The family lived here until 1877. Louisa wrote her classic Little Women at a small desk here in 1868.
- Today the home and grounds are open to the public. Eighty percent of the furnishings actually belonged to the Alcotts and renovations have been carefully done.
- A chapel on the property hosts seminars and classes in the summer.
- Manor: large country home
- Renovation: refreshing and restoring something
Questions and Answers
Question: Where is the museum located?
Answer: The Orchard House is located in Concord, Massachusetts. Not far away is the Emily Dickinson Museum on the Dickinson Homestead in Amherst, Massachusetts.
This museum holds the original poetry and memorabilia of beloved American poet Emily Dickinson.
Visit the website for the Orchard House to learn more about Louisa May Alcott and her remarkable family.
Great Smoky Mountains National Park
The Great Smoky Mountains National Park in Tennessee and North Carolina takes in the ridgeline of the Great Smoky Mountains and a portion of the Blue Ridge Mountains.
It is part of the Appalachian Mountain Chain and has some of the highest mountain peaks east of the Mississippi River. More than 12.5 million visitors come every year—the most of any U.S. national park.
- Cherokee people lived here for many years before Europeans arrived. In 1830, President Andrew Jackson signed the Indian Removal Act. All native people living east of the Mississippi were forced to leave their lands and move to Oklahoma.
- Some refused to leave and hid in the forests with their rebel leader Tsali. Their descendants now live in the Qualla Boundary.
- During the mid-to-late 1800s, loggers, miners, and homesteaders came to the area. The loggers were destroying the forests at a rapid rate. Local people and visitors were concerned that the natural beauty of the Smoky Mountains would be destroyed. They began a movement to protect the area. John D. Rockefeller donated $5 million. Local businessmen donated land. The federal government gave money and in 1940, Franklin D. Roosevelt signed legislation that made the area a national park.
- This national park includes more than 522,419 acres of land, making it the largest national park in the eastern United States.
- Visitors enjoy hiking on trails and fishing.
- The forests are 95 percent forested with many trees that are several hundred years old.
- The park also has several historic areas with cabins, schools, and old churches still standing.
- The Walker Sisters Homestead is one of the most well-known historic areas. The Walker sisters were five spinster sisters known for their traditional ways. They grew most of their own food and made their own clothing.
- At 6,593 feet above sea level, Mount Le Conte is the tallest mountain in the eastern United States.
- Rebel: someone who actively fights or disagrees
- Spinster: an unmarried woman
Questions and Answers
Question: What is the Appalachian Trail?
Answer: The Appalachian Trail is a trail that runs from Georgia to Maine. The 2,200 mile trail was completed in 1937. Almost 1,000 people attempt to walk the entire trail each year. Emma Rowena Gatewood (Grandma Gatewood) walked the trail alone when she was 67-years-old.
Discover the Appalachian Trail.
Dinosaur National Monument
Interested in dinosaurs? The Dinosaur National Monument in northwestern Colorado features more than 800 paleontological sites, and includes allosaurus, stegosaurus, and diplodocus fossils.
- Paleontologist Earl Douglas first found fossils in the area in 1909 and shipped them to Carnegie Museum of Natural History in Pennsylvania.
- Woodrow Wilson declared the area a national monument in 1915.
- The monument covers more than 210,000 acres of land. Visitors come to see the fossils, including more than 1,500 fossils at Dinosaur Quarry Exhibit Hall.
- Visitors can also view pictographs and petroglyphs, cliff drawings and carvings. This art was made by the Fremont people who lived in the area from 1 A.D. to 1300 A.D.
- These people lived in small groups and hunted, gathered plants and herbs, and grew corn, beans, and squash.
- The cliff art features animals, people, and abstract symbols. Researchers aren’t sure if they had religious or cultural significance. Maybe they were simply the outpouring of the artist’s imagination. The art depicts people with headdresses, shields, and earrings and animals like bighorn sheep, birds, and snakes.
- During the 1950s, several government groups wanted to build a huge dam project in the area, which would have destroyed much of the natural beauty, archaeological and paleontological artifacts, and ecosystems. Opposition from two conservation groups was intense and the groups eventually won their battle. Their efforts were important in protecting other national parks and monuments from development.
- The area was designated an International Dark Sky Park in 2019.
- Paleontologist: someone who studies dinosaurs
- Conservation: preserving and conserving natural resources
Questions and Answers
Question: What is a dark sky park?
Answer: An area valued and protected for its views of the stars.
Visit the official website for Dinosaur National Monument.