Author:
Lorna Loy, Brenda Beyal
Subject:
Literature
Material Type:
Lesson Plan
Level:
Upper Elementary
Tags:
  • Bio Poem
  • Lesson Plan
  • Native American Culture
  • Native American Flute
  • White Mesa Ute Tribe
    License:
    Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial
    Language:
    English
    Media Formats:
    Text/HTML

    Education Standards

    Aldean Learns to Make Flutes: A White Mesa Ute Story

    Aldean Learns to Make Flutes: A White Mesa Ute Story

    Overview

    In traditional Ute culture, the flute was used for healing ceremonies, or sometimes for courting. A man would play a song to win the heart of a woman. According to tradition, only she could hear the music being played for her.

    This lesson utilizes a true story of Aldean Ketchum, flute player and storyteller. Aldean is a member of the White Mesa Ute tribe. The White Mesa Utes, located in White Mesa, Utah, are members of the Ute Mountain Ute tribe. The Ute Mountain Ute tribal headquarters are located about 90 miles east, in Towoac, Colorado.

    Student will learn more about Native American flutes and create a bio poem. 

    Details

    Time Frame: Three (3) Sessions, up to forty-five minute lessons each. 

    Format: Whole group and small groups or pairs. 

    Authors:  "Aldean Learns To Make Flutes: A Story About a White Mesa Ute Boy" adapted by Merry M. Palmer and Mary Jane Yazzie. Original lesson by Brenda Whitehorse, modified by Lorna Joseph-Loy & Brenda Beyal

    Goals and Outcomes

     

    As a result of this lesson students will accompllish the following: 

    1. Explore and describe similarities and differences in the ways various cultural groups meet similar needs and concerns [such as expressing themselves through music].There are man cultures all over the world and in the classroom with many types of music. Students will learn more about the many types of Native American styles of music.
    2. Listen to, respond to and connect thier personal interests to the musicof the flute with author and flute player, Aldean Ketchum. 
    3. Explore and respond to Native American music by analyzing context through social, cultural and historical examples. Native American music can be traditional (older), contemporary (modern), or both at the same time; this can be an example of Native Americans living in “two worlds.”
    4. Creat a Bio Poem about the author and about themselves. 

    Background Knowledge

    Bio Poems

    1. Teachers must know how to use the Biopoem format.
      • A bio poem is a simple poem written about a person, and it follows a predictable pattern. Bio poems generally don’t rhyme, and they can be autobiographical or biographical. It’s best to have students begin by writing Bio Poems about themselves, but later they can write about famous historical figures or story characters. Pages 3 though 6 in this packet deal specifically with Bio Poems about oneself, but I’ve also included planning pages for historical figures and characters. After you introduce the basic Bio Poem format, students should easily be able to create their own poems from those planning pages. Allow students to change the writing prompts as needed according to their selected topics.

    Student and Teacher Background Knowledge

    The students and the teacher should have an idea that the Ute tribes are a Native American tribes located in eastern, and southern Utah.

    White Mesa Ute Tribe

    Ute people live in Utah. There are three Ute tribal nations - 1) Uintah-Ouray Utes in northeastern Utah, 2) Southern Ute in Colorado, and 3) the Ute Mountain Utes in southern Utah, southern Colorado and New Mexico. Approximately 2,200 tribal members live on, work on and use these lands. Located twelve miles south of Blanding, Utah, the community of White Mesa has a population of about 380 people and is part of the larger Ute Mountain Ute tribe headquartered in Towaoc, Colorado. White Mesa operates as a branch of the Ute Mountain Ute tribe and is governed by a seven-member board. The Ute Mountain Utes’ tribal lands, which total about 597,000 acres, are divided up in checkerboard-style allotments and dot sections of Utah, Colorado, and New Mexico. 

    The arrival of Europeans ushered in major disruptions in the Ute way of life. Spanish slave raiders, explorers, and traders traveled into Ute territory following the colonization of New Mexico in the late 1500s. Contact with the Spanish introduced the slave trade to the Great Basin. Many Indians were sold or exchanged as slaves, and violence between the Utes, Paiutes, and Navajos became frequent. The slave trade increased after 1829 with the establishment of the Old Spanish Trail, a trade route that connected New Mexico to the Pacific Ocean and traversed Ute lands.

    When the United States acquired the Southwest from Mexico in 1848, Americans, like the Spanish before them, attempted to exploit tribal rivalries between the Utes and the Navajos to gain control of the region. White settlement began to put serious pressure on Ute lands, and in 1868 the Utes begrudgingly signed a treaty in Washington D.C. that consigned them to western Colorado Territory. Although the reservation did not include the area of the lower San Juan River, in what is now southeastern Utah, the Weenuche continued to use the public lands in this region. For a time, they enjoyed relative isolation, as the white settlers generally ignored this part of the Four Corners region. In the 1880s, however, Mormon settlers moved into the area, followed by cattle companies in search of free grazing lands. Conflict between whites and local Indians frequently ensued. The Utes also found themselves in conflict with the Navajos, whose population in the area expanded in the 1890s.

    The Southern Utes in living southeastern Utah repeatedly resisted attempts by the federal government to remove them to Ute Mountain Ute Agency at Towaoc, Colorado. Tensions between the Utes and white settlers culminated in the 1923 “Posey War” in San Juan County, Utah. In reality the “war” was a few shots meant to delay a white posse chasing local Utes and Paiutes, who were fleeing for a traditional sanctuary. However, the Posey incident became an excuse for the federal government to send many of the Ute children to the boarding school at the Ute Mountain Ute Agency and force the remaining Utes onto small land allotments near Allen Canyon and Montezuma Creek.

    Allotment made the Ute lifestyle of hunting and trading over long distances impossible. They were expected to farm, but this proved disastrous due to cultural resistance and competition from better-equipped and more-experienced white neighbors. Accordingly, the Utes turned raising sheep, cattle and horses, which also proved challenging because of limited grazing lands. In 1938, the Utes filed a lawsuit against the U.S. government claiming of forty million dollars in losses from the dispossession of their land. In the 1950s the Utes from all areas won a series of legal battles and settled for $32 million in reparations. The Utes in Allen Canyon set aside part of their share in the settlement for improvements in infrastructure, housing, and services.

    Starting in the 1950s, the Utes began to build houses on Ute-owned land eleven miles south of Blanding, Utah. Electricity and plumbing were added in the 1960s and 1970s. Now known as White Mesa, the new settlement fostered a sense of community among local the Utes. Today White Mesa residents’ biggest challenge is that they are isolated from their tribal headquarters at Tawaoc. In spite of this challenge, they have developed a Headstart program, daycare center, adult education classes, weekly health clinics, a senior-citizen program, a full-fledged recreation program, and police protection. The tribe provides employment through these programs; they also run a cattle company and convenience store.

    Native American Flute

    In traditional Ute culture, the flute was used for healing ceremonies, or sometimes for courting. A man would play a song to win the heart of a woman. According to tradition, only she could hear the music being played for her.

    The Native American flute was once a means of transmitting signals in the night. The flute, however, was most frequently used as a means by which a young man could communicate his love. The original theme of romance has changed today and today it embraces broader themes of love: love of the land, beauty, unity, and the divine virtues that we must acquire to advance as a united world.

    Most Native American songs are not written down, so the only way of passing on these songs to the next generation is simply to sing them and to play them. If your music is not being sung often at ceremonies and celebrations, then members of the tribe make a point of getting together with the community in order to keep the traditional music alive. The music is easy to learn, which is why it is good for children to learn from a young age. Native American traditional music has a long and interesting history that has brought together tribes. It is important that the music is passed on to the next generation so that it is never forgotten. 

    Native Americans have been making flutes for thousands of years. The oldest flutes were made from bone, mammoth tusk ivory and clay. The origins of the Native American flute are hazy and full of mystery. Bone whistles dating from Basketmaker times (B.C.300 - A.D. 300 ) have been found in northeastern Arizona, and bone flutes of the Pueblo I era (A.D. 800-900) were also unearthed in the Anasazi area. However, since most prehistoric flutes were made of plant material, i.e. river cane and wood, they have long since disappeared due to decay. 

    Flutes today are made from red cedar, redwood, or pine. Flutes are decorated with small carved animals, quillwork, beadwork, leather streamers and feathers. Other materials used to decorate the flute are buffalo, dear and elk hides, deertail hair and porcupine quills and eath color paints - artwork is applied to flutes today. 

    Modern Native American flute first appeared in photos in southern Utah in the 1850s among the Ute tribe. One theory holds that from Utah, this more modern flute moved south into the area of Taos pueblo, which has a long history with the instrument. It then continued south to the now abandoned pueblo of Pecos, east of present day Santa Fe. Until the late nineteenth century Pecos was a major trading post between the peoples of the Pueblos and the Plains. Once there, it quickly migrated into the Plains. It is the Plains version of this flute that has become synonymous with the Native American flute of today.

    Related Resources:

    Utah American Indian Digital Archive

    History To Go: Ute Tribe

    Map of Tribal Nations within Utah

    Data.Gov: Tribal Nations Maps

    Ute Mountain Ute Tribe: Official Website

     

    Lesson Preparation

     

    Initial Preparation

    • Preview the story and become familiar with the characters, their problems and the solutions to those problems. Determine how the students in your class might relate the story to their own experiences; think of an experience of your own that you can share with the class. 

    Materials Needed

    Strategies for Diverse Learners

    1. Students who struggle with writing their ideas can be paired or grouped with other students to complete the project. Students can also use paired reading or buddy-share sessions. 

    2. Students can illustrate their finished writing pieces with images.

    3. Students can be challenged by creating puppet plays or storytelling sessions, using props, puppets, music, etc. 

    Lesson Procedure

    Vocabulary: Curious, hesitate, hollowed, mature, twisted. 

    Glossary for Ute words:  ií’nap - flute; chikévunap - carving; puhmum wúkain - tools; káan - home; yagátii – music

    Session One (1):  Pre-Reading - 30 Minutes

    What Kind Of Music Do You Like?

    1. Have students create and conduct a survey of classmates’ personal music preferences. In the follow-up discussion, ask your students whether they listen to more than one kind of music. What is it they like about the music they listen to? Does it make them want to sing? To move or dance? Does it say something to them? Do their parents, grandparents, and older brothers and sisters listen to the same kind of music or different kinds? What kinds of music are associated with your cultural group? Does your cultural group have traditional songs and modern songs? What type of instruments are playing? Is there singing?
    2. “Raise your hand if you can explain who Native Americans are.” After students share responses, explain that Native Americans are also known as American Indians, whose ancestors inhabited North America before the Europeans (such as Christopher Columbus) arrived. Emphasize that the descendants of the original Americans are alive today; Native Americans are not just part of the past. Display a map of the Native American tribe in the United State and the tribes located in Utah. Explain that Native Americans live in United States, Canada, and Mexico. They also live in cities, not just on reservations.
    3. “Raise your hand if you think you know Native American music when you hear it.” Note the number of hands raised.
    4. “What does Native American music usually sound like?” Note student responses, which may include the stereotypical drumbeat pattern—BOOM­boomboom­boom, BOOM­boom­boom­boom—or the equally stereoypical highpitched, vocal “war whooping” sound created by patting one’s mouth. “Let’s see if you agree with that at the end of the lesson or if you change your answer.”
    5. Play examples of Native American music. 
    6. Ask students to share why they think the examples they chose are Native American music. Their reasons and opinions may include the drumming, singing, instruments, or other characteristics.
    7. After class discussion, reveal the answer: “All the music you heard is Native American music!” Explain that there are many styles of Native American music, old or new, and some that are old and new. Explain that traditional music refers to older music or music handed down from the previous generation and generally does not change over time unless the tribal community decides it should; it can also refer to music that is in an old­sounding style. Explain that contemporary music refers to new or popular music that is current, new, or modern in some way. Native American music is music that is made, created, utilized, or performed by Native Americans.
    8. Have all students indicate “Yes” with a thumbs up or “No” with a thumbs down to answer each of the following questions simultaneously, on cue:
      • “Can Native American music be old?” (Yes)
      • “Can Native American music be new or modern?” (Yes)
      • “Can Native American music be both old and new at the same time?” (Yes)

    Session Two (2):  30 to 45 Minutes

    1. Review the previous day's discussion: “What is Native American music?” (music that is made, created, utilized, or performed by Native Americans) “How did the examples sound old or new?” (share answers that may include modern instruments and techniques)
    2. Show pictures of Native American instruments -
    3. We are going to focus on the Native American flute today. Show pictures of the Native American flute. Show the students a wooden flute if possible, and show them a regular flute. 
    4. If possible, play traditional Native American flute music. Native Flute Solo by R. Carlos Nakai at Montgomery College
    5. Explain why Native Americans play the flute? The Native American flute was once a means of transmitting signals in the night. The flute, however, was most frequently used as a means by which a young man could communicate his love. The original theme of romance has changed today and today it embraces broader themes of love: love of the land, beauty, unity, and the divine virtues that we must acquire to advance as a united world.
    6. Explain - most Native American songs are not written down, so the only way of passing on these songs to the next generation is simply to sing them and to play them. If your music is not being sung often at ceremonies and celebrations, then members of the tribe make a point of getting together with the community in order to keep the traditional music alive. The music is easy to learn, which is why it is good for children to learn from a young age. Native American traditional music has a long and interesting history that has brought together tribes. It is important that the music is passed on to the next generation so that it is never forgotten. 
    7. Explain Native Americans have been making flutes for thousands of years. The oldest flutes were made from bone, mammoth tusk ivory and clay. The origins of the Native American flute are hazy and full of mystery. Bone whistles dating from Basketmaker times (B.C.300 - A.D. 300 ) have been found in northeastern Arizona, and bone flutes of the Pueblo I era (A.D. 800-900) were also unearthed in the Anasazi area. However, since most prehistoric flutes were made of plant material, i.e. river cane and wood, they have long since disappeared due to decay. 
    8. Explain that flutes today are made from red cedar, redwood, or pine. Flutes are decorated with small carved animals, quillwork, beadwork, leather streamers and feathers. Other materials used to decorate the flute are buffalo, dear and elk hides, deertail hair and porcupine quills and eath color paints - artwork is applied to flutes today. 
    9. Also explain that the modern Native American flute first appeared in photos in southern Utah in the 1850s among the Ute tribe. One theory holds that from Utah, this more modern flute moved south into the area of Taos pueblo, which has a long history with the instrument. It then continued south to the now abandoned pueblo of Pecos, east of present day Santa Fe. Until the late nineteenth century Pecos was a major trading post between the peoples of the Pueblos and the Plains. Once there, it quickly migrated into the Plains. It is the Plains version of this flute that has become synonymous with the Native American flute of today.
    10. "Today, we will read a true story of a man whose grandfather taught him how to make a flute. His name is Aldean Ketchum. Aldean grew up in White Mesa, Utah south of Blanding, Utah.  Aldean Ketchum greatly admired his grandfather, Billy Mike, and Billy’s knowledge of the old ways.  Aldean was especially interested in the use of courting flutes, a generations-old Ute Mountain Ute tradition. So Billy Mike taught his grandson how to select the right cedar tree and carefully remove the branch to avoid hurting the tree.  He taught him to cut the branch in half, hollow it out, re-assemble the two pieces with buckskin, burn in the sound holes, and insert and adjust the reed.  And he also taught Aldean how to play and produce music that, according to tradition, only a girl being courted can hear. Aldean now shares his music not only in the community but also in classrooms and at pow wow circles where flute music is used to offer  prayers to the Creator."
    11. Read the story, Aldean Learns To Make a Flute: A Story About A White Mesa Ute Boy
    12. At the end of the story ask the students what they learned from Aldean's experience. Ask the students if they play an instrument? How old were they when they started playing an instrument?Ask your students what they benefit from learning how to play a musical instrument. 
    13. "Let's meet  Alden Ketchum and hear from him about the Native American flute. Listen to how he talks about the flute and how he uses the flute music to preserve his Ute cluture and how he plans to pass on these traditions to the younger generation." Aldean Ketchum: Native American Flute Player and Storyteller 
      • Aldean Ketchum: Native American Flute
    14. "Can you see how and why the flute can be used for a symbol love?" The flute once played an integral role in love and courtship in Native American society. Traditionally, courtship was a public affair that involved a girl's family and friends. Prior to marriage, families guarded their daughters against having free friendships with young men and an exaggerated shyness among adolescent girls was considered charming.

      To attract a girl's attention, a young man would arrive in the evening outside of her family's home and play a beautiful love song on his courting flute. The pleasing tones of the instrument, rising and falling in slow sliding cadences, served to entice her into falling in love with him. Specific traditions varied between different villages and tribes. One tradition held that although a young man would play his courting flute, the girl was not allowed to respond to this advance alone. The potential mate first needed to offer the spoils of a hunting expedition to the girl's parents before he could be considered an acceptable suitor.

      The courting flute is no longer learned or played in its traditional context. In earlier days, flute players received no formal instruction, rather learning only by listening to others play, but today lessons are often offered in a classroom setting. In addition, while it was once played only by men with no other instrumental or voice accompaniment, the flute is also currently played by many women, often as part of contemporary Western musical compositions. Even though it has greatly evolved, the beauty of the Native American flute and its haunting music have endured in the modern age.

    15. We will end our lesson on the Native American flute by creating a Biopoem tomorrow using many of Aldean Ketchum's charateristics. 

    Session Three (3): 30 to 45 Miinutes

    1. Before the lesson, create your own Bio Poem using the example. You’ll share this with your students.
    2. Tell the students that they will work together in pairs to evaluate the character in the story as they re-read "Aldean Learns To Make A Flute." Read the story. 
      • Begin the lesson by telling your students that they are going to create simple poems about Aldean and then about themselves called Bio Poems. Display and read your example to the class. 
      • Distribute the Planning Page. Ask students to brainstorm ideas for each box. You might require them to use at least 6 of the 8 categories. As a class, brainstorm a list of positive character traits words that could describe a person, include character traits for Aldean. 
      • After students have spent a few minutes brainstorming, allow them to pair up with a partner and discuss their plans.
      • Next display your example again and show students how to take ideas from their planning page to create a poem.
      • Younger students may need the template, but older students can usually do this on lined paper. Let them arrange the lines in any order they would like.
    3. Model how to use the Biopoem format to analyze the character, Aldean. Tell the students that they need to choose four traits that describe Aldean. One trait could be "Likes playing."
    4. Have the students work in pairs or groups to complete the Biopoem.
    5. Have the students share what they put on each line when they have completed the story.
    6. Next have students creat a Biopoem about themselves using the same Planning Page and format. 
    7. Provide time for sharing the poems, or create a class book of their work. You can also create a bulletin board using photographs of each student placed next to their poems.

    Extensions:

    • Ask students specifics about certain instruments and see what they can tell you about the features and sounds, etc. (tests and games)
    • Have the students write a report on their favorite instrument and present it to the rest of the class.
    • Integrate technology by having your students type thier poems on the computer. They can manipulate the sized of the words, color of the words, etc. 
    • Do you play a musical instrument? Visit an exhibit or attend a performance that involves dance, music, speech, or drama.
    • The students could gather flutes or recorders along with traditional Ute flute music and create some music of their own.

     

    Assessments

    Make Use of Prior Knowledge

    Our students bring a wealth of knowledge and experiences with them to school. By asking questions that draw on what students may already know, we can help them make use of their prior knowledge to understand and learn from what they’re reading. Having students turn and talk with a partner about what they already know helps them activate their prior knowledge. This activity also integrates cooperative learning, another research-supported strategy, into the process.

    Vocabulary

    1. List all the words from the story that are likely to be unfamiliar to students.
    2. Analyze the word list:
      • Which words can be categorized as Tier Two words?
      • Which of the Tier Two words are most necessary for comprehension?
      • Are there other words needed for comprehension? Which ones?
    3. On the basis of your analysis, which words will you teach?
      • Which will need only brief attention?
      • Which will you give more elaborate attention to?
    4. For the words you selected, have your students list some characteristics of the words. Have student define the word in thier own words. Have students draw the word. 

    Bio Poems

    • Use anecdotal records of pre- and post-reading activities along with each student's copy of the biopoem.

    Cultural Learning

    • Can the student show on a map the approximately where the Ute tribes are located?
    • Can the student locate on a map the 5 tribes of Native Americans in the state of Utah?
    • Can the student relate reasons or uses for musical instruments in the Native American culture?

    Additional Resources

    Additional Resouce for the subject of Native Americans

    PBS: Circle of Stories - Circle of Stories uses documentary film, photography, artwork and music to honor and explore Native American storytelling.

    BYU ARTS Partnership: Arts Reaching and Teaching in Schools - Founded as an initiative in the BYU-Public School Partnership, the BYU ARTS Partnership works to increase the quality and quantity of arts education in Utah elementary schools. 

    Utah Division of Arts & Museums: Native American Teaching Artist Roster - This new Native American Teaching Artist Roster has been established with help from Brigham Young University and their Native Curriculum Initiative. As tribal leaders guide this curriculum initiative, they are equally forthcoming identifying those that best present their songs, dances, stories, baskets, weavings and other art forms important to them. UDAM is delighted in supporting this initiative and in welcoming artists new to our state agency.