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Research project: Native Americans in Utah History

Time Frame

5 class periods of 45 minutes each

Group Size

Small Groups

Life Skills

  • Thinking & Reasoning
  • Communication




Each group of Native Americans in Utah is unique to its time and different in culture. Begining with the Archaic culture this unit will research the Paleo, Anasazi, Fremont, Navajo, Shoshone, Ute, Paiute, and Goshute. All of these cultures can teach us about the uniqueness of our State.


A. Research question list: (Step Lesson Plan Step 1) B. Reference books. C. List of Internet sources (See Lesson Plan Step 2).

Background for Teachers

All school library media collections are not created equal and will have differing quantities and qualities of sources available. Check with the library media personell BEFORE beginning this to be certain there are sources available for the students to use.

Intended Learning Outcomes

Students will research the basic cultural information available on the various Native American Cultures of Utah. Including: Historical time, shelters, weapons, tools, foods and methods of obtaining foods,

Instructional Procedures


  • Anasazi Indians
    Text and photographic overview of Anasazi Period, also contains links to other ancient civilizations.
  • Archaeological Sites of the Southwest
    This is a catalog of prehistoric archaeological sites in the 'Four-Corners' states (Colorado, Utah, Arizona, New Mexico) of the American Southwest that are on public land and are legally open to visitation.
  • Archaic Indians
    Contains photographic examples of Archaic Indian tools and weapons.
  • Fremont Indians
    Short but useful discussion of Fremont Indians taken from the bulletins published for visitors at Capitol Reef National Park. Includes a photo of petroglyphs.
  • National Museum of the American Indian
    The Smithsonian's National Museum of the American Indian is dedicated to the preservation, study, and exhibition of the life, languages, literature, history, and arts of Native Americans.
  • Navajo Indians
    Limited information but has dates and language with some religious beliefs.
  • Other links to Native American sites
    This file will connect you with other 'hot links' related to the study of Native Americans
  • Paleo Indians
    Photos of Mastodon teeth and tools and weapons of Paleo Indian linked artifacts.
  • Ute Indians
    Short discussion of the Utes in Four Corners area. Includes language base. Focus is on Colorado Utes, but has helpful information.See also

Organize the class into 9 groups Discuss the common needs of different cultures: Food, shelter, clothing, etc. Tell students they will be researching to find out how different groups have solved the problems of filling their needs. Pass out assignment sheets with research questions. Gather some research sources for all groups. Allow time for them to begin research on their group. Review the following research question list to be used when collecting information on a particular Indian tribe.

When and where did the group live?
What tools and weapons did they use?
What food did they eat and how did they get each food? (Hunting, gathering, farming)
What Language did they speak? (Remember some will be UNKNOWN.)
What did they wear?
Did they use pottery or baskets? (Note any special characteristics of patterns.)
Did they leave rock art?
Here is a list of internet links that will provide valuable information on the following native American tribes and their corresponding time periods. Provide time for the students to continue research in the library and the computer lab for internet. Any school experts on early Utah Indians may be willing to act as consultants. Students will take the information gathered on their research papers and create a poster or chart including all basic information. The student work will be displayed by creating a timeline on a bulletin board or wall. (Be aware of overlapping groups.) Provide oportunity for students to share what they have learned with the other groups and perhaps even other classes.


Dioramas of cultural group. Models of tools, weapons or other artifacts.

Assessment Plan

The best assessment would be analysis of the information located giving points for each fact they found from the list. Extra points would be available from efforts beyond the basic answers.

Created: 12/19/1997
Updated: 02/05/2018