Subject: Social Studies

Grade: K-12

Topic: Apsáalooke Manners

Content: After completing lesson plan students will have a better appreciation of the diversity of cultures in Montana.

Goals: Students will be able to cite examples of traditional manners in their home and in an Apsáalooke home.


Social Studies Standard 1: Students access, synthesize, and evaluate information to communicate and apply social studies knowledge to real world situations.

Social Studies Standard 6: Students demonstrate an understanding of the impact of human interaction and cultural diversity on societies.

Essential Understanding 1: There is great diversity among the 12 tribal Nations of Montana in their languages, cultures, histories and governments. Each Nation has a distinct and unique cultural heritage that contributes to modern Montana.

Essential Understanding 2: There is great diversity among individual American Indians as identity is developed, defined and redefined by entities, organizations and people. A continuum of Indian identity, unique to each individual, ranges from assimilated to traditional. There is no generic American Indian.

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.

Objectives: After completing this lesson students will be able to name several differences in Apsáalooke traditional manners and manners in their own community.

Materials: This lesson plan and your best manners!

Introduction: Like all cultures, Apsáalooke people have different traditions than many students in your school. Apsáalooke people honor different familial relationships, and live everyday life differently. What is important to understand is that everyone with “good” manners and intelligence appreciates the manners and customs of other cultures. Around the world the customs of one culture can vary from family to family and this is true of Apsáalooke people as well.

Development: This reading and discussion will demonstrate the cultural differences evident across the state of Montana.

Practice: Students will read the Apsáalooke manners listed and discuss manners in their own community. Are they different among the generations in their community? Are they different than Apsáalooke manners? Why are manners important to us as a society? Are some manners the same everywhere in Montana? America?

Checking for Understanding/Evaluation: Students will identify at least five Apsáalooke etiquette items listed.

Closure: Students will discuss or write in paragraph form how this lesson may change their opinion upon meeting an Apsáalooke person.

Apsáalooke Manners Unit

The first thing one should know about Apsáalooke manners is probably the first thing they will note upon meeting an Apsáalooke person. This is that Apsáalooke people believe it is rude to squeeze the hand they are offered to shake. It is considered the manhandling of another person. Hands are touched briefly, without squeezing.

Apsáalooke people find it offensive to use prolonged eye contact with anyone. Doing so shows a lack of respect.

When entering a home, Apsáalookes generally remain standing until they are told when and where to sit.

It is expected that young women will not speak to strangers, particularly men. In addition a polite young woman is generally a quiet person.

An Apsáalooke is taught to think before he/she speaks as speaking carries the power of an act. A man has to buy the right to speak in public. Women never speak in public unless it is a matter of their profession.

It is thought of as impolite to cross over the legs of other people, or in between people.

A woman does not let a man enter her home if her husband is not present.

At dances, an Apsáalooke person can dance with anyone as long as it is not a relative. A married woman usually dances with her husband’s brothers.

An Apsáalooke person does not visit unless an invitation has been given. Often times a visitor will remain in the car until they are invited in. An invitation means eating and a polite Apsáalooke person never refuses what is given to him.

A hostess always offers refreshments to visitors. If invited to dinner the diner accepts all that is put on the table.

Pointing at a person or anything is considered disrespectful.

Individuals who lose their temper are thought of as ill-mannered.

Burping and spitting are not considered rude.

When an Apsáalooke person is given a gift publicly they often share it with an in-law or other family member.

Apsáalooke people do not date relatives, including 4th, 5th, and even 6th or 7th cousins.