Nanih Waiya Choctaw Indian Mound

Overview and Objectives

In this learning center students will learn the story of the creation, emergence, and migration of the Native American Choctaw people from the study the Nanih Waiya Mound located in central Mississippi. Students will read legends and myths, undertake research including individual interviews of elders, and create an original work of art as they learn to interpret how heritage and the values of an ethnic group can develop.

Main Ideas and Understanding:

1. The Nanih Waiya Mound is the spiritual center of the Choctaw Nation.

2. Before the dispersal of the various bands of Choctaws to different regions, laws were established at the Nanih Waiya Mound.

3. The ancestors of the Choctaw people emerged from the Nanih Waiya Mound.

4. Indigenous myths and legends related to the Mississippi Choctaws explain and outline the emergence, migration, and creation of the Nation.

Time required:

At least 5 class periods.

An instructor might choose to lengthen this assignment.

 Classroom materials:

  • Map of Mississippi (to be obtained by the teacher)
  • Empty timeline template for plotting the mound's history (to be drawn by the teacher)
  • Research books on the Nanih Waiya Mound (to be gathered by the teacher; refer to the Resources section of this Learning Center for titles)
  • Creation stories of the Native American Choctaw Indians (see the Resources section of this Learning Center)
  • Migrations stories of the Native American Choctaw Indians (see the Resources section of this Learning Center)
  • Smart board
  • Pictures of Nanih Waiya Mound (available in this Learning Center)
  • Newspaper clippings related to recent events at the Mound
  • Art supplies
  • Computers and Internet connectivity

Objectives:

1. Students will learn the history of the Nanih Waiya Mound by plotting its location on a map of Mississippi and plotting the various communities that exist today to determine the migration routes of tribal members from the Nanih Waiya Mound.

2. Students will research and draw a timeline of the Nanih Waiya Mound and explain its impact on the lives and migration of the Choctaw.

3. Students will read Native American origin stories from other indigenous nations and compare them with the Choctaw stories.

4. If possible, students will visit the Nanih Waiya Mound.

5. The students will develop a list of the purposes for which the Nanih Waiya Mound was used from the past to the present.