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The Art & Technology of Utah's 5 Unique Indian Cultures

Main Core Tie

Social Studies - 4th Grade
Standard 2 Objective 1

Additional Core Ties

Social Studies - 4th Grade
Standard 1 Objective 3

Time Frame

2 class periods of 30 minutes each


Utah LessonPlans


The student will be able to connect the artistry and innovation of Utah's five tribes to their history and culture.


Teacher Materials

Student Materials

Background for Teachers

The five tribal nations of Utah each have unique cultures that are tied to the environments in which they lived and the different events that shaped tribal histories. No single artistic expression or technological innovation could possibly define a culture, but it can help us to recognize larger themes and values. This lesson focuses on Navajo weaving, Paiute basketry, Goshute botany, Shoshone beadwork, and Ute buckskin tanning to explore the cultures of Utah's Indians.

Instructional Procedures

Take a classroom poll to identify the unique skills, interests, talents, and hobbies of your students. Discuss how these interests reflect who they are, where they live, and what they, their families, and their communities value.

Provide each student with a culture sheet on one of the tribes, and allow them to complete the jigsaw sheet for all five tribes. If your class has never participated in a jigsaw before, instructions are available at


  • Have students demonstrate one of their talents to the class and explain its cultural significance. Some examples might include Basque dancing, Hmong quilting, Sushi rolling. Where applicable, ask students to make connections to the arts and innovations of Utah's Indian tribes.
  • Have students experiment with weaving or beading to gain a kinesthetic understanding of the cultures studied.

Assessment Plan

  • Discussion participation
  • Jigsaw sheet

End of Unit Assessment


Benally, Clyde, with Andrew O. Wiget, John R. Alley, and Garry Blake. Dinéjí Nákéé Nááhané: A Utah Navajo History. Monticello, Utah: San Juan School District, 1982.

Conetah, Fred A. A History of the Northern Ute People. Ed. Katheryn L. MacKay and Floyd A O'Neil Fort Duchesne and Salt Lake City, Utah: Uintah-Ouray Ute Tribe and University of Utah Printing Service, 1982.

Cuch, Forrest, ed. A History of Utah's American Indians. Salt Lake City: Utah Division of Indian Affairs and the Utah Division of State History, 2003.

D'Azevedo, Warren L., ed. Handbook of the North American Indians. Vol. 11, The Great Basin. Washington, D.C.: Smithsonian Institution, 1986.

Nuwuvi: A Southern Paiute History. Sparks, Nev., and Salt Lake City, Utah: Inter-Tribal Council of Nevada and University of Utah Printing Service, 1976.


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.

Created: 01/16/2011
Updated: 02/05/2018