Native American Pictograph

Native American Pictograph Lesson Grades 1-3

In Native American culture, pictographs were also their earliest form of written communication. The Native Americans typically drew their stories on rocks, cave walls, and animal hides. Iron oxides found in hematite or limonite, white or yellow clays, soft rock, charcoal, and copper minerals were used to make the paint. These natural pigments were also mixed to produce a yellow, white, red, green, black, and blue palette. They told stories of daily tribal life and what may be happening in the environment or left messages and warnings for others traveling through the area. As Native American tribes spoke multiple languages, these symbols or “picture writings” were often used to convey words and ideas. These images are a valuable record of cultural expression.

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