Foreign Policy Research Institute A Nation Must Think Before it Acts “A Cross-Cultural Comparison of Ainu and other Indigenous People”

“A Cross-Cultural Comparison of Ainu and other Indigenous People”

• SOC.9-12.DP.1.1 – Describe the claim or argument of a secondary source, as well as the evidence used.
• SOC.9-12.DP.1.2 – Describe a pattern or trend in quantitative data in non-text-based sources.
• SOC.9-12.DP.2.1 – Make a historically defensible claim in the form of an evaluative thesis.
• SOC.9-12.HRS.1.3 – Use context to explain the relative historical significance of a specific historical development or process.
• SOC.9-12.HRS.2.1 – Describe similarities and/or differences between different historical developments or processes
• SOC.9-12.HRS.2.2 – Explain relevant similarities and/or differences between specific historical developments and processes.
• SOC.9-12.HRS.2.3 – Explain the relative historical significance of similarities and/or differences between different historical developments or processes.
• SOC.9-12.HRS.3.1 – Describe causes or effects of a specific historical development or process.
• SOC.9-12.HRS.4.3 – Explain the relative historical significance of specific historical developments in relation to a larger pattern of continuity and/or change.

• Students will be able to analyze Ainu culture in Japan, trace their past in Japanese history, and their role in Japanese society today.
• Students will be able to examine Ainu history and present day culture and compare it to other native cultures and their histories around the world.

• Do Now: Why is it important to study Native groups in cultures?
• Cooperative Learning Groups: In your small groups, discuss what we have reviewed about Native Americans, their successes before the “Age of Discovery,” and their struggles after European arrival. Create a chart with the above two categories. This will be a review from previous lessons on Native American culture.
• Class Discussion/Class Review: Each group will then select one person to write two of their ideas from their chart on the large white board. As a class, we will compare and discuss the answers written on the white board.
• Cooperative Learning Groups: Each group will review the more “common” native cultures that they learned the previous year in their world history classes; these include, but are not limited to the more popularly studied Aboriginals in Australia and Maori people in New Zealand, for example. They will use either the Chrome Books in the classroom, or a computer lab, to research these groups, and others from Asia, Africa, and South America to create a preliminary “profile page” or “diagnostic page” on each group, including a timeline of their events and current status. While each group can choose a different native group, all groups will be required to study and research the Ainu in Japan, as Japan is growing as a more prevalent study of topic in schools nationwide. Each group will thus create three “profile pages” – one for the region of their choosing, one for the Ainu, and one comparing the two.
• Group Presentations: Once all groups have handed in their projects, groups will present their “profile pages” to the class. We will specifically compare everyone’s Ainu pages, putting comparable ideas on a centerboard in the room.
• Class Review: In what ways are countries protecting native cultures today? Many native groups today experience similar issues, mostly cultural erosion. What more could countries do that is not already being done? In what ways can Japan be an example of their relation with the Ainu (museums, etc.)?
• Closure: 321 Exit Ticket – Name three facts about the Ainu Culture, two things you newly learned or found interesting about the Ainu, and one question you still have.

• Students will receive articles ahead of time, including graphic organizers, and guided reading notes.
• Teacher will review with individual students both skills on reading and analyzing sources from the internet.

• This lesson can be extended with videos comparing other aspects of native culture, including comparing clothing, language, music, and ways of trade.

• Video on Ainu background:
• Video on Ainu today:

  • Christine Shaw
  • Marlboro High School
Grade Level
  • High School: 10, 11, 12
Time Frame
  • Two 67 minute periods

If you have any questions about this lesson plan, or if you wish to contact the author, please email us at [email protected]