Homeschooling on Indigenous People’s Day

Homeschool Totem Pole Craft Project
Indigenous People's Day

This is our first year of homeschooling (not just because of COVID, homeschool has always been in our plan!). My oldest son is in Kindergarten and we are both loving this experience. Being the busy working momma of 3 that I am, I needed an easy DIY Indigenous People’s Day craft project on the fly!

After 3 videos explaining what “Indigenous“ means and who Indigenous People are, and one video about Christopher Columbus, we landed on the topic of totem poles. Totem poles tell a story, so we created a totem pole craft to tell the story of what we’d learned about the holiday so far. Our pole included the three ships of Columbus’ first voyage to our country on the bottom, an Indigenous People’s Chief in the middle, and an Eagle on the top.

In total this totem pole craft project took us about 30 minutes to complete and the three parts can easily be altered to tell whatever story you’d like! I let my son guide me on what he wanted to include on his totem pole to keep him engaged throughout the process.

Kid's totem pole craft
DIY Totem Pole Craft



- Wrapping Paper Cardboard Roll

- Tempura Paint + Paint Brush

- Paper Plates

- Markers

- Straws (if you're making ships)

- Construction Paper

- Feathers, beads and pipe cleaners for Indigenous People's Chief

- Hot glue (adult supervision required!)

- Foil tin or cardboard box for base

Creative Process:

  1. Paint the cardboard roll color of choice, set aside to dry.

  2. Use paper plates to draw pictures of the story you want to tell. We started with the eagle and Indigenous Chief, but you can choose different items to place on your totem pole.

  3. Cut out the wings of the eagle, and glue small pieces of construction paper to it to signify the feathers of the wings.

  4. Hot glue the wings to the sides of the plate. Set aside to dry.

  5. Draw the face of the Indigenous Chief on a paper plate.

  6. Fold 4 pipe cleaners in half, string beads onto pipe cleaners.

  7. Twist the open end of the pipe cleaner together and hot glue this end to the back of the plate. Set aside to dry.

  8. Hot glue the feathers to the back of the plate to create the "head dress", let dry.

  9. Cut two more plates in half and color, draw or write on them for each ship.

  10. Cut straws in half.

  11. Cut triangles out of construction paper.

  12. Hot glue the straw to the back of the plate, sticking up to create the sail. Glue the triangle to the straw to complete the sail. Set aside to dry.

  13. Once all your totem pole pieces are created, hot glue them to the cardboard roll.

  14. Once the pieces are dried onto the pole, stand it up vertically and use the hot glue around the bottom edges to adhere it to the base of your choosing. Let dry.

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