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On this page you can get a quick overview of the lesson, to help you decide whether it's right for your curriculum. You can also download and print the lesson overview here.

If you'd like to discuss implementing this lesson with your students please don't hesitate to contact us on


Students will view two Northern Cheyenne ancestral stories. Tsèhésenèstsestotse (The Big Dipper) is narrated by two Northern Cheyenne Elders with elements of music, visual art, choreography, and dance. The Great Race is depicted by Lame Deer High School students in their own words using the same elements.

Students will discuss the two stories and then plot a story that is of importance to their lives.  Depending on context, these may be Indigenous or non-Indigenous stories, from students’ own background and/or experience, or beyond. 



  • Native American studies, specifically Northern Cheyenne culture and language in Montana

  • Storytelling, which can be integrated into history, ELA (language arts), visual arts, music composition and sound design, choreography, dance, and film



  • Students will gain increased knowledge of the culture of the Northern Cheyenne tribe

    • Appreciation and understanding of the cultural and ancestral relevance of The Big Dipper and The Great Race stories to Northern Cheyenne culture

    • Increased awareness of Indigenous language (Northern Cheyenne) and its continued use and relevance in the present day

  • Students will understand two ancestral Northern Cheyenne stories told in collaboration with Blackfeet, Chippewa Cree, and non-Native artists.

  • Students will see the relevance of an ancestral Indigenous story within this current moment in contemporary life.

  • Students will understand an ancestral Northern Cheyenne story through the lens of their own experience.

  • Students will increase their understanding of strategies for storytelling (use of written and spoken language, music, performance, movement, visual art, filmmaking, etc.).



2 class periods or workshops of 60 minutes or more.  This can also be expanded to cover a longer duration.


Each digital story is roughly 9 minutes. Allow roughly 30 minutes for viewing the stories plus discussion, instruction, creation of student story scenes, sharing of scenes, and concluding discussion.



High School and college students (can be adapted for other grade levels)



Northern Cheyenne Tribe of Montana


  • Tsèhésenèstsestotse ("The Big Dipper")

  • NEED NAME HERE - ("The Great Race")



ESSENTIAL UNDERSTANDINGS (Montana Indian Education for All)

Essential Understanding 1:

There is great diversity among the twelve sovereign tribes of Montana in their languages, cultures, histories, and governments. Each tribe has a distinct and unique cultural heritage that contributes to modern Montana.

Essential Understanding 3:

The ideologies of Native traditional beliefs and spirituality persist into modern day life as tribal cultures, traditions, and languages are still practiced by many American Indian people and are incorporated into how tribes govern and manage their affairs. Additionally, each tribe has its own oral histories, which are as valid as written histories. These histories pre-date the “discovery” of North America.

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