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Introduction

Lesson 1
Beads

Lesson 2
Social Studies
Activity
Background

Lesson 3
Visual Arts
Art Making

Lesson 4
Black History
Activity

Lesson 5
Black Artists

Lesson 6
Music & Dance

Lesson 7
Reflections
Background

Bibliography

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Paul Hillman

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Lesson Two: Social Studies Lesson Plan on the Yoruba of Nigeria

REVIEW INFORMATION FOR ADMINISTRATORS AND TEACHERS
This Lesson Unit has been written in accordance with the Arizona Arts Standards with three broad ideas about what students should know and be able to do:
  1. Creating art-knowing/applying the arts disciplines, techniques and processes to communicate original/interpretive work
  2. Review Art as inquiry - discussion presented about how the arts reveal universal themes reflecting and assessing the characteristics of the work and the work of others.
  3. Understand Art in context - Examining and exploring how interrelated conditions (social, economic, political, time and place) influence the development concepts for the arts being discussed.


Statues on the road to Ile-Ife, Nigeria, of traditional chiefs
from the palace of Oni-Ife (the king of Ife)

In Lesson One: "Why a Museum about Beads? and What Constitutes a Bead?" ART as INQUIRY was the focused art standard, reading literature that discussed how the book One Small Blue Bead (literary arts) can reveal universal themes.

Discussion was also facilitated about how a bead can be a material representation of a universal need to give significance and meaning to a small object as a means of communication.

Each lesson (lesson plan) will continue to examine and explore information that does not necessarily meet all three criteria within that specific lesson, but at the end of the total learning process (the lesson unit) all criteria will have been addressed.


Yoruba Beaded Maternity - owned by Cheryl Cobern-Browne

The assessment of this total process will not occur until the final lesson (lesson plan) of the complete lesson unit or curriculum.

In the Introduction of the Lesson Unit, information was provided of how the project addresses Standard 7 (collaborates with colleagues, parents, the community and agencies to design, implement and support learning programs). Those specific related professional activities include:

  1. Development with colleagues of Yoruba Beaded Art/Black History: Designs, Rhythms, Repetition and Movement lesson unit; (2) Investigation of community and other resources, which will sponsor this lesson unit (3) Production and selection of student artwork for exhibition; (4) Publicity and documentation of the Lesson Unit and exhibition of youth artwork locally, nationally and internationally (the web site lesson unit).

Social Studies Lesson Plan - Nigeria
Lesson Plan Objectives: Benefit to Students/Students will

  1. Examine and explore the country of Nigeria, Africa, specifically focusing on the Yoruba people: their past history, economics, cultural beliefs and values and other interrelated living conditions.
  2. Discuss the importance of the concept of "Honoring Ancestors" in Yourba culture and research and identify one's own ancestors.
  3. Participate in reading literature, The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein, a parable for readers of all ages that offers an interpretation of a loving relationship between an individual and the spirit in a tree.

The presentation of this information will be through the voices of Africa-American twins, who are the children of an African-American mother from Louisiana and a Nigerian, Yoruba father now living in Arizona. Supplemental information will be through interview between a Bead Museum staff member and the twin's mother, Alany. The time frame for presentation of this lesson unit is to be determined by individual teachers, but should follow lesson 1 lesson plan and be completed before lesson #3.

Teacher/Student Activity Overview:
The teacher may wish to discuss the total lesson over 3-4 consecutive days, reviewing the literature and asking questions of the student's understanding and comments as the information is presented. This includes the reading of The Giving Tree. Participants will then be asked to research their own ancestors and return to the class with this written information for the art-making activity that will occur at a later time.


A Yoruba Mother with twins in her arms.

Background Information for Teachers

Bead Museum Staff: Is it possible to convey the story of Nigeria through the adventures of twins, a boy and girl?

Alany: Yes, there are typical names that are given to twins. When they are given names, the names are not specific to any particular gender but tend to have more to do with their twin status. For example, Taiwo, means "pre-tasted the world". This child is given this name because he/she is born as the first of a set of twins. Kehinde, means the one who lagged behind. This child is the second of a set of twins-although born last, this child is considered the older of the twins.

Staff: Can you explain the significance of twins?

Alany: Twins are considered a blessing in the Yoruba culture because they are viewed as the beginning of double blessings for a family. Twins among the Yoruba tribe are considered hereditary. In my husband's family there are at least two or three sets that I am aware of. In fact, there is a higher percent per capita of twins in the Yoruba culture than any other culture in the world.

(footnote: The term Yoruba describes a number of semi-independent peoples loosely linked by geography, language, history, and religion. They primarily live in Southwest Nigeria and Southeast Benin. They number over 25 million people and are considered the most populated tribe of persons in all of Africa.)

Staff: Please explain why it was important for you to have your children go to Nigeria with your husband.

Alany: In all honesty, I was at first fearful because of all the things that can happen just from traveling abroad. Then the more I thought about it I realized it was really selfish not to give my children the opportunity to experience the Nigerian culture for themselves. I wanted them to GO, see, and visit with that side of their family so they could learn more about their father's cultural and family experiences.

Staff: The children fly into Lagos. What is the topography like in Lagos? And is this a commercial urban area that is like any commercial urban area in the world?

Alany: Yes, Lagos looks a lot like New York City, Phoenix, or Chicago with sky scrappers and traffic. The area is real flat and then gets hilly as you travel out of the city into the villages. It is a Savanna region. The temperatures remind me of Louisiana. It is very humid. It is located near a large body of water (in Southwestern Nigeria and near the Republic of Benin), the Atlantic Ocean and is a commercial port of trade in the country.

Staff: When the twins flew to Nigeria how did they fly?

Alany: They flew to Nigeria on British Airways from Phoenix to London then to Lagos. They flew in March and when they arrived the weather was very much like it is in Louisiana. There is no winter in Lagos because they are so close to the equator. There is a rainy season, but the weather is typically pretty humid and warm.

Staff: What is life like in Lagos?

Alany: There are tall buildings, apartments, and nice homes. And there are people everywhere at all times of the day and night, working going places and selling things. They have all of the conveniences that we have here in the USA.

Teachers will want to have a global map available to point out the plane trip from Arizona to London, England, to Lagos, Nigeria, in Africa. Please have the students note the landmass of Africa. Have them locate Lagos near the equator and relate this to the topography in Louisiana where Alany was born. (Resource: to view that Alaska, the United States, Europe and China all fit into the land boundaries of the continent of Africa http://www.bu.edu/africa/images/map_sample.gif)

Student Activity

Suggested Day One Reading:

Kehinde and Taiwo Fly from Arizona to Lagos, Nigeria
The narrator is Taiwo, the male twin.
The day before we left for our trip to Nigeria, my mom and dad were busy making sure we had packed up everything we needed for our 2-week trip to Lagos, Nigeria, to visit my grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins. Lagos, Nigeria, is where my daddy was born and that is where he grew up. It was our Spring break and my sister and I were so excited that we could barely sleep-besides being out of school for 2 whole weeks, we were traveling out of the country for the very first time. We told all our teachers and friends about our trip and they made us promise to take plenty of pictures so they could see what it was like. My mom had taken us to the library weeks before to get books about Nigeria. She had visited Nigeria with daddy years ago; but now she said it was important for me and my sister to go to the origin of our slave ancestors and to enjoy spending time and learning from my dad's family. Mom said West Africa, where Nigeria is located, is where her slave ancestors last stood before they were forced onto slave ships to unknown destinations.

For as long as I can remember, dad had always talked about Nigeria, the Yoruba tribe, his family life and childhood experiences... He even taught us some of the traditional Yoruba customs passed on throughout his family...such as the way to greet an elder by bowing and prostrating to show respect. So, we were ready. But we still didn't know what to expect.

Our dad assured us that we would have fun and how excited everyone would be to meet and greet us since they had only see photographs of us and talked to us on the phone. My sister, Kehinde, and I were just as excited to meet them.

On the day of our trip, I was too excited to eat...My dad kept encouraging me to eat because he knew it would take a long time, once we got to the airport to make it through security and through the International travel line at the airport....And he was right....Once we made it to the ticket counter, the ticket agent counted our luggage and weighed them to make sure we didn't go over the airlines' baggage weight limit. If you do, my dad said, you have to pay for the extra weight of your bags or take items out and leave them at home. Once our bags were checked, we then had to show our passports and visas to the ticket agents... We did this again when we went through security and then once more when we arrived at the International gate area where we boarded our plane for London. My dad says this is important to make sure you have permission, as a citizen of the United States, to enter and visit another country.

When we finally boarded the plane...the flight attendants actually called it an airbus, it was easy to find our seats because this thing was big, I mean it was huge--the largest airplane I had ever seen. My sister, Kehinde, laughed as she watched me slowly look up, down and around as I tried to take in every inch of the airbus-plane--even after I sat down. Kehinde said it reminded her of a big movie theater because of the way the seats lined up about 5 or six across a row. With the reclined seats and the big screen TVs overhead, it was great to relax, prop up our feet, eat popcorn, or take a nap. My dad said the airlines have airbus service for long international flights to ensure passengers' safety and comfort. Comfort is especially important because on international flights the airbus becomes a second home. The flights are some times very very long. It turns out Dad was right...I thought getting to London would be quick, but it wasn't-it took 10 hours to get to London's Heathrow Airport. For a while it felt like we would never get out of that airplane! Once we arrived in London, we got off of the plane and entered the airport.... It felt weird to walk around on the ground since we had been in the air for so long. Then, we just sat around, then walked around the airport for about 4 hours before getting on the next plane that would take us to Lagos, Nigeria...When, we boarded this airbus, Dad said to get comfortable because it be eight hours before we got to Lagos. And he was right; eight hours later we were in Lagos, Nigeria. As the plane arrived at the gate, Dad asked Kehinde and I to count the number of hours we spent flying. Before he could finish asking his question, Kehinde and I looked at each other and shouted together "18 hours ... 18 loooooooooooooooong hours Dad." That's my twin sister, so I know that's all she had been thinking about too!

Airport Entrance at Lagos, Nigeria

Arrival in Lagos, Nigeria on the Northwest coast of Africa
When we got off the plane, several of our aunts, uncles, and cousins were there to greet us and to help us with our luggage. It was great to finally put faces to names and voices that I only heard over long distance calls throughout the years....and we knew they were family, our family. My sister and I looked at them and then looked at each other and began to smile... It was like looking into a mirror.... and we really hit it off.... We realized we like some of the same things-soccer, football, music, baseball caps; we just call them by different names because of where we live. The next day, we awoke to the sound of roosters crowing in the compound and goats kicking about in the yard. (Remember we are in the city.) It felt like we had just gone to bed... My dad told me to take it easy and rest because my sister and I certainly felt tired from the 18-hour plane ride and the 8 hour time difference between home and Nigeria. (Teachers, please take the time to explain time zones.) Wow, that's an entire school day! But Kehinde and I couldn't help ourselves. As soon as we got dressed and ate breakfast and someone said "go" we jumped up-not even asking where....and we did go, go, go. We went to the market (grocery store), the petrol station (or gas station), a local restaurant. The sights and sounds were spectacular! I especially liked the market because it looked like one of the outside flea markets or swap meets at home!! At the market we saw people carrying baskets of food and pails of water on top of their heads-without even dropping them. We also watched mothers carry their small babies on their backs using large pieces of their clothing to hold them securely in place. Everyday, we were in Lagos, we found a way to go the market...just to take in the sights and sounds that made this place Lagos.

Staff: In larger urban areas of Europe there are still market places for fresh fruits, vegetable, meats and baked goods. Is this the same in Nigeria even in the urban areas?

Alany: You can find small markets in most neighborhoods. Typically, people go to the market every day for fresh produce and meat. There are few canned goods or frozen foods. Everything is fresh. The larger markets are located in the more commercial areas of the city. The atmosphere there is more like a daily social gathering where people meet, greet, bargain, buy or sell jewelry, clothing, sculptures, shoes, as well as food items. There are even a few amusement parks scattered among the market places in Lagos.

Staff: From our research we have determined that the women run the markets and actually control much of the wealth this way. What is your experience?

Alany: My husband's mother and aunts owned and operated convenience-store type markets for years. They sold things like soft drinks, coconuts, dried fish, palm oil and kola nuts.

Staff: The reason I considered this discussion is that I understand that in much of Africa, it is a patriarchal society. Yet the women may have a strong voice because they have control of the market and make a significant income .

Alany: Well, women mostly own and operate domestic type businesses, like the markets, while the men typically own and operate the industrial businesses. Women's rights have definitely changed throughout the years. Women are more vocal about jobs, living conditions, marriage, health issues, and education.

(Footnote: The alajapa and alarobo of southwestern Nigeria are wholesale and retail sellers who deal largely with agricultural commodities in various parts of Yorubaland. They are identified by some of the pre-colonial references to be the female entrepreneurs. They experienced a decline in their productivity during the colonial and early post-colonial periods. However, the alajapa and alarobo female entrepreneurs have increased significantly over the past two decades. This involvement, as a means to supplement the families income, has brought significant wealth and political prestige to many of these women. Africa Update Newsletter, Vol III., Issue 3 (Summer 2000): Nigerian Culture and Society, retrieved off of the WWW on 10/31/04 http://www.ccsu.edu/afstudy/upd7-3.htm ).

By now, it was day three of our trip. We walked in and out of shops much of the day and when we finally arrived at my grandparents' home, we had everything we needed for that evening's dinner. Kehinde and I helped to stir the huge pot of tomato-based soup that was cooking and we even peeled several cassavas plants and plantains so we could have them for our meal. Cassavas look a lot like big Idaho potatoes and kind of taste like them too! They are used to make fufu or can be boiled and eaten like baked potatoes. We also ate plantains, big tropical bananas, after they were seasoned with a little salt and then tossed into a large, deep frying pan until they are golden brown. Then, they're called do do. It's a funny name, but they are good!!

Suggested Day Two Reading:

To Abekouta, Homeland of a Yoruba Tribe
The next day was Saturday. And we had a lot of ground to cover today because we were headed to the village of Abekouta to meet more relatives. This city is located inland about 60 miles north of Lagos. I never knew our family was so large. The village was the place my dad said he loved the most when he grew up because he got a chance to get away from the noise and the hustle and bustle of the city...Since there were no telephones there, my dad said he and his sisters and brothers would yell out a special message to their grandparents upon their arrival. The echo would signal their arrival and their grandparents would yell back to let them know they were heard. This village place was beautiful and quiet. It reminded me of the rural areas of Louisiana where my mom's parents lived.

  • While we were there, Dad reminded us to try to limit the use of our left hand, especially when passing things or giving things to adults. For some reason, it is considered an insult.

  • You don't cross or jump over someone's legs if they are sitting with the legs extended out. It's considered bad luck.
  • Avoid shaking hands with elders and older people in the villages. It's disrespectful to do that.

It was so quiet and peaceful there, I could hear the water rushing over the rocks in the stream and I could see big trees in every direction I turned. Since there were not many paved roads in the village, we walked to get to our relatives homes and to meet near-by neighborhoods that heard of our arrival. Once night came, we bedded down in a cabin-like home and heard the nighttime creatures of the village. Even before there was a hint of daylight, those village roosters were eagerly welcoming the day. Then the neighbor's goats chimed in. Before long, Kehinde and I knew that sleeping late was not going to happen. So, we hopped up, got dressed and joined in the morning prayer with my dad and grandparents before saying goodbye to the village and heading back to the city. (Giving thanks for all one has and focusing on the specialness of what life has to offer through thoughtful meditation is a universal expression. It is practiced by many people around the world, reminding one not to take anything for granted.)

On the Badagry Beach
On our way back to Lagos, we stopped at a place called Badagry. We drove through the city for a while and then stopped and walked along the shore of the beach. As we walked my dad explained that Badagry is an important place in Yoruba/African culture and history. It is believed to be the last place many Africans were free before being captured, chained and forced onto ships headed across the Atlantic Ocean.

As the tobacco, sugar and cotton plantations became established in the Caribbean and the Americas, the plantation owners needed more workers. European traders were interested in capturing or buying slaves from Africa. African rulers were willing to sell the slaves they captured in wars. Other men, women and children were kidnapped, forcibly tied and shackled together and marched to the coast to await a ship. Those who survived the trip across the Atlantic ocean (The Middle Passage) were sold to plantation owners. This forced enslavement of person from west Africa occurred for more than 300 years (late 1500's to 1850). Ayo, Yvonne, Eye Witness Books: Africa, AlfredA. Knopf, New York, 1995, p.50.

Even though only four percent of those Africans enslaved came to what is now called the United States, forty percent of these same men, women, and children were forcefully uprooted from their Yoruba villages.

First Church Mission Layout
First Church Mission Layout

When we got back in the car we continued our tour of Badagry. My aunt and uncle pointed out the First Storey Building in Badagry constructed by the Anglican missionaries. We also stopped in to see relics of slave chains in the mini museum. A young worker in the museum demonstrated how the slaves were chained together and showed us the huge pot that the slaves drank from. My sister, Kehinde, and I did not like this place. It made us feel sad.


Slave Water Container

Then I remembered that my mom said it was important to learn about our past so we could truly cherish our ancestors and their struggle for freedom. And that we must honor their memories by living lives of purpose.

As we left this place, the sun was going down. Kehinde and I looked at each other and then watched as it got darker. As we drove further and further away, I told my sister it must have been very scary and sad for those captured to be taken away from the only place called home, not knowing if they would see the ocean or their families again.

Suggested Day Three Reading

The Trip to Ile-Ife
Our grandparents took us to Ile-Ife. (Locate on map of Nigeria). They said this place is very important for us to see because it is believed to be the oldest town of the Yoruba people and is considered a holy city and the legendary birthplace of mankind.

In Yoruba legend, the city of Ife was the place where the gods came down to populate the earth. The children of the first god, Oduduwa, are said to have spread out from Ife, founding their own forest kingdoms in west Africa. The people of Ife certainly influenced much of the art and culture of the neighboring states. A metal worker is said to have taught the lost wax process to the people of Benin creating the beautiful bronze sculptures that were produced between 1050 and 1500 A.D., (Ibid., Ayo, p. 11.)

(Footnote: The term Yoruba describes a number of semi-independent peoples loosely linked by geography, language, history and religion. The Yoruba of southwestern Nigeria and southeastern Benin (Recheck this area on a map.) number over 25 million people and are considered the most populace tribe of peoples in all of Africa. Most live within the borders of the tropical forest belt and at the fringes of the northern savanna grasslands.


Oduduwa

Archeological, evidence suggests that the ancestors of the Yoruba may have lived in the same area of Africa since prehistoric times. By the mid-18th century, the slave trade had drastically affected all of West Africa. Slaves of Yoruba descent were the most populated group of those persons forcibly resettled in Cuba, Brazil and North America. Traditional ways of Yoruba life and language are a prominent part of culture in these areas today. Traditional Yoruba city-states were sub-divided into over 25 complex, centralized kingdoms. Of these, Ile-Ife is universally recognized as the most politically and ritually important Yoruba city. The founding of Ife is thought to be about 850AD. Source: Ile-Ife Encyclopedia Britannica. Retrieved off the WWW on 9/26/04 from Encyclopedia Britannica Premium Service.)


Sculpture of the original means of Yoruba communication with the modern radio tower in the background

Taiwo and Kehinde: It is now Sunday...and we are off to church and then later a baby- naming ceremony. The church building is small, but it is filled with people the whole day. Although much of the church service is spoken in Yoruba, we can understand a few of the church hymns that they sing in English......those we don't know we just smile and hum right along with the rest of the congregation.

(Footnote: Religion is central in the lives of most people of Nigeria. The three primary religions are Christianity, Islam and Indigenous practices. Local Yoruba religious beliefs use objects made from carved wood and other materials to represent spiritual forces. All but the most orthodox Muslim and Christian Nigerians continue to observe some of the traditional religious practice of the country, weaving elements of the past with the present into evolving ceremonies and rituals. These people including the Yoruba have an individual approach to religion into a unique blend, meeting their own spiritual needs. Source: Nigeria in Pictures, Visual Geography Series, Lerner Publication Company, Minneapolis, 1988.)

After service, we travel to Aunt Sade's homes for a baby-naming ceremony. As part of the Yoruba culture, a baby is usually named on the 8th day of life (usually a week or so after the baby is born) during a traditional naming ceremony.

(Alany: The birth of children is a major event. Approximately one week after the child is born, there is a traditional naming ceremony to celebrate the child's birth and to announce the baby's name. Then, there's a big party that follows. Family and friends come to say prayers and offer thanksgiving for the new baby. The naming ceremony includes an extensive ceremony where you welcome and bless the baby, and explain the significance of the baby's name within the Yoruba culture. You also learn how the culture started, how this baby now fits into the family, and how it is the obligation of everyone in the family and the community to look after this baby and to look after the family and to offer support.)

Taiwo: We got there in just enough time to help gather all of the items needed for the ceremony:
Kola nut, salt, sugar, water, alligator pepper, oil, and dried fish. Kehinde and I put them in bowls and set them on a big table in the big family room. Now everything was ready for the ceremony. Our baby cousin, Babatunde was sound asleep, even as all of the dj's music was playing in the other room. Once the house was filled with family and friends, and the smell of soup, cassava, beans, goat, and plaintains floated through the house, we knew it was time to start. My great uncle Femi conducted the service by praying for the baby and then just as he held the baby up securely in his arms, he told everyone the baby's name: Babatunde. This name means the father has come back. It is an important name, Uncle said because it means "Tunde", a boy baby, was born shortly after our great-grandfather died. Then everyone gathered had the chance to share in the blessings of the baby by tasting from the seven ceremonial foods we gathered earlier:

  • Kola nuts - these are used to pray for the survival of the child.
  • Salt - This represents the family's hope for a child that is a productive and worthwhile member of society, rather than a menace.
  • Sugar - This represents the sweet pleasures of life that the family prays for their child.
  • Water - This represents a prayer of survival when using water in any form. The prayer is that no harm will come to the child when water is in use.
  • Alligator Pepper - This pepper has thousands of seeds. During the ceremony, this represents the family's hope for the child to also be fruitful and productive throughout his/her life. It also hopes for the ability to reproduce.
  • Oil - This represents the family's desire for their child to have a calm, peaceful life that will allow the child to settle down.
  • Dried Fish - This represents prayers for safe travel throughout the child's life.

Once the ceremony was over, we all ate and danced for hours and hours. It was great!

Staff: So this is back to the concept that the village raises the child.

Alany: Yes. And it continues to be a very important contemporary tradition. We had this type of ceremony for each of our children in this country.

Staff: How were the ceremonies you participated in when you visited Nigeria different from those in the U.S.?

Alany: I attended a funeral service for a family friend during my visit there. The service was different because it had a more festive tone. There was more of a celebration of the person's fruitful and blessed life and less emphasis on the actual death.

Staff: So death is not looked at as a morbid experience or sad time?

Alany: No, I don't think so...Death is viewed as a passage to the next phase of the life journey. Many family members told me that the only time you may actually witness the families' grief and sadness is with the untimely death of a baby, child, or young person who has not had the opportunity to live a full life.

Staff: So then is the death process looked at more in the essence of fulfilling the concept of the Circle of Life and a time of Joy?

Alany: Yes. In most African cultures there are many rituals and ceremonies to honor ancestors. Ancestors can be thought of as spirit guides to those who are still alive. Their presence is constantly felt. In the wooden sculptures and designs in the beautiful beadwork the faces of the ancestors appear as a continuum of life. They are celebrated.

The day arrived for us to return home, many of my aunts, uncles, and cousins traveled to the airport with us to say goodbye. They, along with my grandparents, made sure we had packed away plenty of clothing and gifts to remember them. But both Kehinde and I knew that the best gift that they gave to us during those two weeks was priceless-a better understanding of who we are and an understanding of family roots we had never really thought about or had just taken for granted.... The connection to them is so real now-they have a real, meaningful place in our lives-real family-our family. I finally felt that connection that both my mother and father talked about so much. Before our trip, Kehinde and I would sometimes ask them what they meant by connection; they would always look at me and my sister and smile tenderly, telling us that one day we would understand... Now I do...we do.... We finally understand that unspoken, yet very real connection. This is a trip we will never forget!

Before reading The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein have the students review the definition and their understanding of the word "ancestor" The students are then to go home and over the next couple of days research from family oral history someone in their family who is no longer alive. It is suggested that a couple of informative paragraphs be recorded about this individual, to be used in the art making activity in lesson 3.

Suggested Student Outcomes for the Social Studies Component of Lesson 2 - Students will:

  1. be able to locate Lagos, Nigeria on a world map.
  2. be able to define the term "Yoruba" culture.
  3. be able to discuss some of the similarities between the lives of Yoruba children living in Nigeria and children living in the USA.
  4. be able to discuss the concept of "slavery" and that many of those persons enslaved in Africa came from Yoruba villages in what is now called the country of Nigeria.
  5. be able to define the word "ancestor" and research their own ancestors for a later art-making activity.
  6. be able to discuss the concept that in the Yoruba culture, many persons of both the Christian and Islamic faiths also honor more traditional beliefs, i.e. a wooden object may be imbued with the spirit of an ancestor or loved one.

Word List from New Illustrated Webster's Dictionary, J.G.Ferguson Publishing Co., Chicago, Illinois, 1992.

Vocabulary definitions taken from http://www.dictionary.com

  1. Ancestor - one from whom descent is derived; especially, such person further back in the line than a grandparent
  2. Culture - the sum total of the behaviors and activities of any specific group of people, including their implements, arts, religious values and beliefs, traditions, stories and language.
  3. Equator - an imaginary line around the Earth forming the great circle that is equidistant from the north and south poles
  4. Parable - a short allegorical story designed to illustrate or teach some truth, moral lesson or other abstract meaning through the action of fictitious characters that serve as symbols.
  5. Patriarch - A man who rules a family, clan, or tribe
  6. Savanna - a tract of level land covered with low vegetation; a treeless plain
  7. Time Zones - One of approximately 24 longitudinal divisions of the globe, nominally 15 degrees wide, in which clocks show the same time. Some zones follow the boundaries of states or territories, others differ from neighbouring zones by more or less than one hour.
  8. Topography - the physical features of a region of land
  9. Tradition - the passing down of elements of a culture from generation to generation, especially by oral communication
  10. Yoruba - a number of semi-independent peoples loosely linked by geography, language, history, and religion

Life Force - When a Yoruba artist creates a figure or some other object, the process leads to a product or an event (as in masquerade and ceremony): creation of a thing that realizes its ability to "exact presence". - A Sense of Wonder: African Art from the Faletti Family Collection - Mary Nooter Roberts and Allen F. Roberts, Phoenix Art Museum, University of Washington Press, 1997.

Click here for student/teacher activity.

Click here for additional teacher background information.