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Thanksgiving Study Activity Plan

Oak Harvest

Oak trees grow throughout California, and the fruit, calledan acorn, provided one of the most important foods for all Native Americans in California including the Chumash and Gabrielino/Tongva.

Both the Chumash and the Gabrielino/Tongva chose not to practice agriculture.

Everything theyneeded was provided by the plants and animals around them.

The Coast Live Oak (Quercus agrifolia)and the Valley Oak(Quercus lobata) provided an abundance of acorns.

This activity begins with a Chumash story of how the oak tree was given to the Chumash people.

We then have students making predictions and gathering acorns to get an idea of the amountof acorns needed to feed a family and how important this food was to the Chumash and Gabrielino/Tongva.

After preparing acorn bread (optional)students are invited to write their own recipe using different plants and animals.

Reintroduce to the students the importance of the acorn to the Chumash and Gabrielino/Tongva.

You may want to invite the students who have "oak tree" or "mortar & pestle"pictures to tell the class what they remember.

Read to the students the following Chumash oak tree story by Charlie Cooke,

Hereditary Chief of the Chumash:

At the time of the Rainbow Bridge, when the Chumash lived on the coastal islands, Hutash­Mother Earth, created a long, high rainbow.

She asked the people if they would like to leave the island, cross the rainbow and go to the mainland.

When they arrived, the foods were different and the people weren't sure what to eat.

So Mother Earth and Father Sky created the oak tree.

They told the people what to do with the oak tree.

How to take the acorn-the fruit ofthe oak- and prepare it to eat.

The acorn became the staple food of all the Chumash people.

That is why, as long as there is an oak tree, there still will be Chumash.

Discuss the story.

Students will want to ask:

What does the moral of the story mean: As long as there is an oak tree, there still will be Chumash?


journal page(Figure I)Nature's Recipe journal page (Figure J)Acorns (or other nuts/seed pods thatcan represent acorns)- at least 400 acorns (approximately 2 lbs)per group of 4-5 students. Kitchen scale Paper bowls (large enough to hold300 - 400 acorns), one per group of4-5 students

Acorn Bread

recipe (Figure K)and ingredients (optional)JournalsOh, California Chapter 2, Lesson 3 Pre-PlanningPractice reading the acornstory to become familiar with it.

Gather acorns* (at least 100 per student) or purchase from Pacific Western Traders, 305 Wool Street, P.O. Box 95,Folsom, CA 95630916-985-3851(FAX 916-985-2635)Wed - Sat, 10am-5pm orSun, 11am-4pm.

Other types of nuts, e.g., filberts, can be used, or evenseed pods gathered from local trees.

Some Asian markets carry acorn flour.

Prepare copies of the How Many? and Nature's Recipe journal page for each student.

Plan to break up the class into groups of four to five students.

Gather ingredients and plan to make acorn bread (optional).