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Title of Lesson: Northwest Coast Potlatch

Grade/Age: Grades Second, Third, Sixth and Seventh, High School Art I, Art II and Advanced Art.
Time: Since this is a big project involving many grades, we will use three weeks of one hour class time to
complete this project/event. The event is on Dec. 5
th
at 6pm in the Gym.
Purpose of Lesson: To gain a better understanding of a culture that many know little about and to get a
hands on look of the ceremony of Potlatches in the Northwest Coast area.

Objectives/Learning Goals:
 Learning about the people of the Northwest Coast
o Second and Third
 Making Rattles from rocks and shells
 Make a clay whistle (Third grade only)
 Making costumes for play
 Hearing and recall the story of PooGweese
o Sixth and Seventh
 Making masks that represents a creature from the Northwest Coast myths or
stories
 Make a display of the mask, which tribe this mask idea came from and the story
it holds
 Building/crafting the boats and props for the play as well
o Art I
 Creating the “Housing Dishes” out of Earthenware clay
 Making, in teams, a Northwest Coast Native American Dish
 Making a display with recipe of dish and where it comes from
o Art II
 Making a transformation mask
 Write an essay on the region the their example they looked from to get the idea
of how to make their transformation mask
 Show how it is used and be able to present essay to others
o Advanced Art
 Build a totem pole of your family tree, can go back as far as Great, Great, Great
Grandparents, or of a Northwest Coast mythological incident.
 Class presentation of Potlatches in the Northwest Coast
 Making the mask for PooGweese, Goomaquay, and Sea Creatures



Vocabulary with brief Definition:
 Potlatch: comes from the Chinook
jargon, “to give”, ceremony of giving
property away
 Supernatural: Not of the natural world
 Ceremonial: relating to formal occasions
 Realm: Kingdom, an area or domain
 Myth: ancient story about heroes or
supernatural beings, to explain origins
of natural phenomena
 Transformation: Complete change
 Housing Dish: handed down within
families. The rights to their use had been
acquired from ancestral figures many
generations before
 Totem: Important tribal object, carving,
symbolic
 Terra sigillata: a thick clay slip mixed
with color and burnished on the outside
of a pot
 Burnishing: form of pottery treatment in
which the surface of the pot is polished,
using a hard smooth surface such as a
wooden or bone spatula, smooth stones,
plastic, or even glass bulbs, while it still
is in a leathery 'green' state
 Leather Hard (Green Ware): the form is
has at least 75% to 85% moister left and
the form is sold and can be handled
 Rattle: instrument, produces sound,
makes short knocking sounds
 Mask: face covering to hide identity
 Plaster:a solid or semisolid
preparation spread upon cloth,
plastic, or other material and applied to t
he body, especially for some
healing purpose
 Earthenware Clay: low fire clay, red in
color

Instructional Procedures:
 Second and Third
They will be making rattles out of rocks and shells. Students can make a rattle that contains
rocks or a rattle that is shells outside. Third grades can make clay whistles that will create a
different sound from the rattle. Rattles are used for music during ceremonies and they will be
using these in the play. Our play is the story of PooGweese. This story comes from Chief
Lelooska of the Kwakiutl. The story starts out with the village low on food and the fishermen set
out but are in doubt they will catch anything because the fish has been low in numbers. They
catch PooGweese, who is a merman. PooGweese tells them about Goomaquay, lord who controls
all the wealth of the ocean. The fishermen are afraid to let him go because he will tell
Goomaquay that they caught him and will no longer have any more fish ever. PooGweese knows
what they are thinking and makes a deal, if they let him go Goomaquay will know they freed him
and now know the lord exists life may be better and as a thanks PooGweese will give them his
mask and his song as gifts. They released, him and some fishmen do not believe the creature but
the others say they if will keep his promise because he is a supernatural one. The mask floats to
the surface on bubble, a fisherman grabs it and then they begin to hear the song which tells of the
Lord Goomaquay and a great house of cooper where all the sea monsters and great creatures live.
The fish came back and they people were wealth once again. They keep the mask as a reminder
of PooGweese and Goomaquay, Lord of the Undersea and why they are successful and safe at sea
and why their village is wealthy.
Five students from each class will be the fishermen, five from each class will be the villagers
and those who have come from other villages, five from each will be the wave makers of sea, five
from each will be the sound makers, and at random three students from each will be sea monsters
and one from each will be PooGweese and Goomaquay. Each student will need to know the story
and as a group we will be practicing the play. I will be the narrator for the students. We will make
the costumes out of large paper bags so they look like animal hide and attach fur and natural color
feathers to them. They will also make grass skirts. They will need to wear brown clothing.
Students are experiencing a Northwest Coast myth and two of the instruments that are used for
storytelling and ceremonies. At the beginning of the Event day, students will perform the play for
everyone.

 Sixth and Seventh
They will be making plaster face masks and making represents a creature from the Northwest
Coast myths or stories. An example is Dzunukwa mask (Kwakiutl) made of wood. This mask is of
child-eating spirit from the forest, is clumsy and sleeps most of the time. Or Xwixwi Mask Gilford
Island (Kwakiutl) made of wood and feathers. We will be going over what the masks were used
for, which many were for stories, dances , and ceremonies. I will read from the book Echoes of
the Elders, so that they can hear some to the different myths from the Northwest Coast.
They will also be making the boats and props for the play. I will show them how to make this
out of cardboard. In the book Indians of the Northwest Coast by Philip Drucker, there is boat A
that the students will be using as a guide for the two boats they will need to make. They will also
be making some shelters props for the village and the palace of Goomaquay, Lord of the
Undersea. They will also making fishing net for the play out of yarn. The last week of the project,
students will be grouped on the region of the mask they have made and the group will hand to
make a display of that region and what their mask is used for in that region. Each group will have
no more than four people in it. On the Event day, they will present their masks and explain the
story behind those masks.

 Art I
These students will be making the “Housing Dishes”. These were usually handed down in the
families of those who owned one. They were acquired rights of usage from the ancestral figures
from many generations before. Also they were sometimes passed through marriage. They were
formed by what their function and not by crests of families or lineage privileges. An example is
Grease Dish. Haida, c. 1700, made of wood. This dish is of a transformational figure that has
wings and a beak, so probably a human to bird figure. Another is the Seal Head Canoe Dish.
Tlinget or Haida c. 1750, made of Alder wood They were also made of wood and ours will be
made of clay. Ours will not be actual “Housing Dishes” but more like “Student Housing Dishes”.
Students will be required to look up various ones and sketch out a dish of their own to make.
They may make some with their own favorite animals transforming into one another. I will demo
on how to make a coil pot and how to go about carving into the clay so that the students will
know how to properly do it but they can do it however they are most comfortable so they have a
successful pot. We will be using a brown terra sigillata and burnishing the outside and using
brown glazes so the dishes will be at least close in color.
They will also be preparing foods to go into their dishes. One food is Fried Tiger Lily Pastries
from the Nooksack. The ingredients are: dried lily bulbs, pasty paper, eggs and water. Another
one could be Fry Bread, which has sugar, salt, baking powder, flour and water. Students will have
to look a simple enough a recipe for them to make. Some can look up and find fruits they might
have had, such as cranberries, huckleberries, and strawberries. The last week, they are required to
make a display with their dish, recipe, and which region the dish and recipe is from. On the Event
day, they will present their “Housing Dishes”, food and recipes to others.

 Art II
This class will be making Transformation masks. These masks were mostly used for
storytelling, dances, and ceremonies. These masks were very large and they would actually
transform. An example is Transformation Mask, Alert Bay (Kwakiutl) made wood, feathers, and
rope and this mask goes from a bird to human/supernatural being. Another is the Thunderbird
Mask, Hopetown, which is made of wood, fur, feathers, and rope. This starts as the Thunderbird
and transforms to a human/supernatural being. Another is one with a bird on the top of the mask;
the closed is a creature/supernatural/animal and opened is a human/supernatural being. In the
book Indians in the Northwest Coast, there is one that comes from Southern Kwakiutl. When
closed it represents a Wolf Spirit and once opened becomes a representation of a supernatural
bird-being. These were very heavy and those who moved in them needed to have great strength to
do so.
Students will not be using wood to make theirs but instead use plaster and cardboard. They
are to show how the mask opens and closes with one being of one animal/creature/supernatural
being and transforms to other. They will use string to make it so it can be opened and closed,
while wearing the mask. I will provide an example of a mask so they can get an idea on how to
exactly make the mask. The student must also provide an essay on the mask and the region in
which it favors. They will also be able to present their mask and tell others about their mask on
the Event day.

 Advanced Art
Students will be making their own Totem poles out of cardboard and plaster. Totem poles
served as a way to tell a memory and recall a mythological incident but were more likely used to
represent the main crests of a family. Some totem poles can be over 100 feet tall, like the Mungo
Martin was commissioned by the Canadian government to give to the Queen of England in 1956.
A more recent one is in Alert Bay, British Columbia and is 173 feet tall. These ones will not be as
tall but will be constructed well. Being Advanced means you are skilled to complete the task in
time and will be able to tell the story of the totem pole to others. Students will look up the
different animals, creatures, and supernatural beings to help represent the family or story they are
making for their pole. I will have a small example for reference and students will be sketching
ideas out before starting so that they are preapproved. They will need to correctly show the
difference in the figures on the poles, such a bird with its beak or a fish will gills or fins. A water
monster might resemble a beaver or bear sometimes.
Students will also be making the masks for the PooGweese, Goomaquay, and Sea Creatures.
They will make them so that the Second and Third graders will be able to hold and wear them.
They will also need to look up PooGweese, Goomaquay, and the different sea creatures so they
can properly create the masks.

 All students will be asked to bring in one article of clothing such as a shirt, pants, shorts, dress,
etc…and these will be given to the neighboring/local homeless shelter or charity as that Potlatch
means “to give” and it is a giving ceremony. This is so the students also have the opportunity to
help someone in need and see the giving part of a potlatch.
 The day of the Event students will present their work to parents/guardians and peers.

Materials and equipment:
 Cardboard (a lot)
 Paint
 Clay
 Brown Glazes
 Brown Terra Sigillata
 Large brown paper
bags
 Plaster Strips
 Glue
 Hot Glue Gun and
sticks
 Box cutters
 Scissors
 Earthenware Clay
 Trimming tools
 Metal Ribs
 Plastic bags
 Vaseline
 Paint brushes
 Water bowls
 Paper plates
 Old big t-shirt
 Fur fabric
 Black and White
Feathers
 Black/brown yarn
 Display boards
 Markers
 String
 Food ingredients
 Large paper
 Newspapers


Resources:
 Native Tech Recipes
o http://www.nativetech.org/recipes/recipe.php?recipeid=124
 Canada’s First People: The Northwest Coast
o http://firstpeoplesofcanada.com/fp_groups/fp_nwc5.html
 Wikibooks: Northwest coast (Nooksack) recipes: Fried Tiger Lily Pastries
o http://en.wikibooks.org/wiki/Cookbook:Fried_Tiger_Lily_Pastries
 Echoes of the Edlers: The Stories and Painting of Chief Lelooska
o “PooGweese” on Pgs. 28-31
 Indians of the Northwest Coast by Philip Drucker
o Pgs.
 64, Boat image A
 102, Rattles
 150, Image of transformation mask.
 Indians of the Northwest Coast By Pliny Earle Goddard
o Pgs.
 129, Referenced to the word Potlatch and gave meaning.
 146-149, Totem Poles
 Cultures of the North Pacific Coast by Philip Drucker
o Pgs.
 20, Vegetable Foods
 43-44, Rattles,
 130, Totem pole image.
 Wikipedia: Totem Pole
o http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Totem_pole
 The Northwest Coast Power Point from ART 467-001
 Books are great references in all aspects because they all
have great information in them about the Northwest
Coast people and various
Assessment:
Effort Creativity Participation Completion of Project
A Worked above and
beyond the required
amount, worked in
and out of class time
to compete project,
sketched out ideas
before executing
them
Enthusiastically came
up with ideas for
project, added own
ideas and thoughts to
project and did not just
copy
examples
Came to class ready to
work, worked the whole
class time on project,
actively listened to
lectures and watched and
took notes during demos,
asked questions about
subject
Project is completed and in
finished state and has met
all objectives of
assignment
B Worked above
required amount,
worked both in and
outside of class,
sketched out one
idea and pursued it
Helped give ideas,
added some of own
ideas but kept many
components of the
examples that were
given
Came to class, worked
the whole class time one
project, listened to
lectures and watched
demos and took some
notes
Project is complete but
may not be in a finished
state, met most of the
objectives
C Worked the required
amount on project,
worked in class on
project
Added some of own
ideas but mostly copied
how example may have
looked and added small
differences
Came to class, worked
majority of the time on
project, watched demos
and listened to lectures
Project is complete but
seems to be not be
finished, has met half of
objectives
D Worked but not fully
to ability, cares little
about project
Copied the example but
added some differences
to make it their own
Skipped classes, worked
only half of class time,
paid little attention to
lectures or demos
Project is half complete
and meets only one or two
objectives
F Fails to do anything
for their project
Copied the example
and did not attempt to
add any of their own
ideas
Missed/skipped class, did
not work at all during
class time, did not pay
attention during lectures
or demos
Project is not complete and
does not meet any of the
objectives


Statement:
Children learn many different ways. This is an opportunity for students to get a hands on
experience and gain a whole new memory with it. Potlatches are a great way to bring entire groups
together to tell stories and share with their neighbors. I want the children to not only experience this but
also learn from a Potlatch. Potlatches are a giving ceremony and for the students to completely
understand, they too will give to their neighbor in need. This event will help students retain the
information because it is something the students can enjoy and host themselves. This is a great
assignment for all learners, from visual to physical. Each class’s assignment has them working to look
information up and use that information in their displays. Also by having students write about their places
and tell others about them is a great way to learn information because you have to look it up, write it
down and restate it to someone who knows nothing about it. Students will be able to present their work to
their parents/guardians and fellow students and gives them the opportunity to show others what they
learned.