Be a Good Ancestor

Wow Wow Wow!! This picture book is so powerful. It starts off with how our responsibility to nature is both tiny and mighty…

“Be a good Ancestor with water

Raindrops become puddles

Puddles become streams

Streams become rivers

Rivers become life”

And then concepts expand to our thoughts, actions, words, communities…

“Be a good ancestor with your thoughts

Thoughts become ideas

Ideas become actions

Actions, become movements

Movements become change”

The Indigenous wisdom and the illustrations are simply beautiful.


Social Justice Activities:

Relevant Social Justice Standards:

Diversity 10. Students will examine diversity in social, cultural, political and historical contexts rather than in ways that are superficial or oversimplified.

Justice 12. Students will recognize unfairness on the individual level (e.g., biased speech) and injustice at the institutional or systemic level (e.g., discrimination).

Justice 13. Students will analyze the harmful impact of bias and injustice on the world, historically and today.

Justice 14. Students will recognize that power and privilege influence relationships on interpersonal, intergroup and institutional levels and consider how they have been affected by those dynamics.

Justice 15. Students will identify figures, groups, events and a variety of strategies and philosophies relevant to the history of social justice around the world.

Action 16. Students will express empathy when people are excluded or mistreated because of their identities and concern when they themselves experience bias.

Action 17. Students will recognize their own responsibility to stand up to exclusion, prejudice and injustice.

Action 18. Students will speak up with courage and respect when they or someone else has been hurt or wronged by bias.

Action 19. Students will make principled decisions about when and how to take a stand against bias and injustice in their everyday lives and will do so despite negative peer or group pressure.

Action 20. Students will plan and carry out collective action against bias and injustice in the world and will evaluate what strategies are most effective.

Reading Strategies:

Main Idea/Details: Analyze the main ideas and details of each concept/event.

Compare: Compare this text with, "We Are Water Protectors." How does this text help us understand, "We Are Water Protectors," better?

Timeline: explore the timeline in the back of the text. For older students, have them choose an event to research further.

Synthesizing: Considering hosting an event similar to what is illustrated on page 30.

Additional Resource:

Book Details:
  • Non-Fiction, All Ages
  • Perspectives: Indigenous People
  • Author's stated heritage: Cherokee
  • Subject Integration: History, Geography, Language

Book covers images are from publishers and in the public domain