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Native American Music and Living Legends

This curriculum unit was created to give students a panorama view of the Native American experience in music which is vast and far reaching. The curriculum unit will be divided into multiple lessons. The first lesson begins with a discussion of the history of the Native American culture and music in the United States through listening to traditional songs and contemporary cross-over music. The Spotlight on Living Legends section provides the students a chance through guided instruction and discussion to read interviews conducted by Dr. Cynthia Lee and the biographies of Vaughnda Hilton, a Native American Seminole/Blackfoot musician, Denise Bright Dove Dunkley, a Lenni-Lenape artist and Dr. Lucy Fowler Williams, a non-Native American scholar who all live in the Philadelphia, Pennsylvania area. The lessons on percussion instruments highlight instruments made by Onondaga music craftsman, Mark Barfoot, who has made hand-crafted instruments for many contemporary musicians like the world renowned songwriter and social activist, Buffy Sainte-Marie. Mr. Barfoot’s biography will provide the students with an understanding that the music sound of instruments in the Native American culture is closely linked to the natural elements of nature. In the final lesson the students will create original songs and poems as tributes to today’s Native American youth. The students will perform their compositions on their own hand-crafted percussion instruments.

Cynthia Cozette Lee

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