Food and Culture, Past and Present in Choctaw Culture

Overview and Objectives





Students develop research skills in science, health, and history while gaining an understanding of one group of North America’s indigenous people. Students become aware of the effect of colonization, cultural interaction and changes on local foodways. They reflect on their own personal and cultural history as they compare and contrast sharing of their research presentations.


Enduring Understandings:

  • A group’s food choices are influenced strongly by the geography and biology of their homeland.
  • The coming of Europeans to North America disrupted many of the practices that had allowed the Choctaw people to get sustenance from the environment.
  • Changes in foodways go further than the table – they affect the rest of culture as well as personal health.


Essential Questions:

  • How have the Choctaw life-ways and foods changed?
  • What were the significant cultural influences that brought about the changes?



4 class periods (based on 50-minute class periods and teacher’s choice)



  • Students will describe the geographical location and ecosystem of the Choctaw people.
  • Students will list the natural resources, ways and tools the Choctaw people traditionally employed to get food.
  • Students will list ways that obtaining food has changed since European contact.
  • Students will identify Choctaw celebrations and ceremonies related to available resources (particularly, food).
  • Students will list traditional foods and processes used in acquiring, preparing and cooking.
  • Students will list contemporary foods available to Choctaw.
  • Students will identify health issues related to changes from traditional to contemporary foods.