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Social Studies - 4th Grade
Standard 2 Objective 1
2 class periods of 30 minutes each
The student will learn about Ute culture by investigating the Bear Dance tradition.
The Utes say that the Bear Dance came from a bear just emerging from hibernation who encountered a young hunter. The bear described the dance, which would ensure successful hunting for the Utes. The dance is a celebration of spring and an opportunity for Ute bands to join together after the long winter months.
Read The Night the Grandfathers Danced to your students. Ask them to share their favorite parts of the story in an informal discussion. Ask the students if they are ready to take a test about Ute culture. Once they are calmed back down, offer to read through the story again, page-by-page, having them look for clues as you go along. Pass out a copy of the Ute Bear Dance Chart for the class to take notes on as the story is reread. Allow students to work with a partner in completing the Ute Bear Dance Chart.
Conclude with a clip from We Shall Remain: The Ute to show students a contemporary example of the Bear Dance.
Conetah, Fred A. A History of the Northern Ute People. Ed. Kathryn L. MacKay and Floyd A. ONeil. Fort Duchesne, Utah: Uintah-Ouray Tribe, 1982.
Krudwig, Vickie Leigh. Searching for Chipeta. Golden, Colo.: Fulcrum, 2004.
Lyman, June, and Norma Denver, comps. Ute People: An Historical Study. Ed. Floyd A. ONeil and John D. Sylvester. Salt Lake City: University of Utah Press, 1970.
Weenoocheeyoo Peesaduehnee Yak:anup: Stories of Our Ancestors. Fort Duchesne, Utah: Uintah-Ouray Tribe, 1974.
The University of Utah's American West Center (AWC) produced the curriculum materials in consultation with the Utah Division of Indian Affairs, Utah State Office of Education, KUED 7, and the Goshute, Northwestern Band of the Shoshone, Southern Paiute, and Ute nations.