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Indigenous Peoples' History


3rd, 4th, 5th


Social Studies, History


75 minutes

Regional Focus

North America, United States, USA - West, Oregon


Google Docs, Google Slides


This lesson plan is licensed under Creative Commons.

Creative Commons License

Indigenous Foods of Oregon

Last Updated:
Apr 22, 2024
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In this lesson, students learn about the Indigenous first foods of Oregon and discuss the connection between food and climate change.

Step 1 - Inquire: Students read about the Indigenous Peoples of Oregon and learn about their first foods.

Step 2 - Investigate: Students learn about the connection between food and climate change and explore data on the impact of food production on the Earth.

Step 3 - Inspire: Students discover how their food choices affect their personal health and the Earth and choose a positive action to help fight climate change.

Accompanying Teaching Materials
Teaching Tips


  • Students learn about the Indigenous Peoples of Oregon and their food traditions.

  • Students feel empowered to make food choices that are better for the planet.

Additional Prerequisites

  • Students should have some awareness of climate change and how it is affecting the Earth. Teacher can show the video Introduction to Climate Change before the lesson.

  • Students should be aware that the Indigenous Peoples of Oregon are the original people of Oregon and that European settlers stole land that belonged to the Indigenous Peoples.

  • When students fill out the food tracker, teacher may need to explain that “kg” is short for kilogram, that a kilogram is a kind of measurement, and that 1 kg is about 2.2 pounds.

  • Keep in mind that students in elementary school often have little to no control over their food choices. Be sensitive to the fact that some students will have less access to more climate-friendly foods, and try to encourage students to make climate-friendly food choices when they have the opportunity to do so.


  • The Inquire section offers a variety of ways for students to learn about the Indigenous Peoples of Oregon and Indigenous first foods. Students can research the topic independently using the sources provided, read specific passages from the texts in small groups, or follow along as the texts are read aloud.

  • Students can use the bar graph in the Investigate section of the Teacher Slideshow to explore why some foods are worse for the planet than others. Students can pick one food and research the number of resources needed to grow, harvest, or produce the food. Students can work individually or with a partner.

  • Students can use a Venn diagram to compare and contrast one Indigenous Oregonian food with a food they eat. For example, students can explore the process of how salmon from the Columbia River and farm-raised salmon from the local grocery store make it to a student’s plate. Alternatively, students can draw the process and use arrows in between each stage.

  • Using the Connecting First Foods and Conservation resource from the Inquire section, students can write the origin story for a native food from their own cultural or ethnic background.
Scientist Notes

This lesson allows students to explore the history of the Indigenous Peoples of Oregon and how they coped with their food systems under the past and present climate. It also underscores the impact of food production on the climate, how their food choices influence human and environmental health, and proposes strategic measures to mitigate emissions from the food sector and food choices that could improve human and environmental health. All the materials were reviewed, and this lesson has passed our science credibility process.


Note On Standards:

This lesson is aligned to Oregon standards. Review the aligned standards directly in the lesson plan document and teacher slideshow.

Discover more on the Oregon Climate Education Hub.
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