The Button Box
If You Take a Mouse to the Movies

Giving Thanks: A Native American Good Morning Message

by Chief Jake Swamp
illustrated by Erwin Printup, Jr. 

While Giving Thanks: A Native American Good Morning Message is a beautiful book to read any time of year (and, indeed, thanks should be given every day and not only on one holiday), we thought this was a wonderful time to focus on a book that celebrates Native American culture. Full of rich and lyrical language and illustrations that live in harmony with the story, this book is a celebration of the beauty of our world and the life it gives us. 

In This Issue

Recycled Native American Drum

In keeping with the book's message, we thought making a drum would be an excellent way to celebrate Native American culture. From 10 Fun & Educational Native Crafts for Kids, "Drums are used for ceremonial purposes and in community gatherings. In first nations culture, a Native drum represents the heartbeat of Noo Halidzoks (Mother Earth), and directly communicates to the Creator." With their own drum, your young readers can share their own good morning message as the greet the day.





Recycled Native American Drum

  • Empty oatmeal canister
  • construction paper
  • glue
  • scissors
  • cork
  • pencil
  • small piece of fabric
  • string or yarn
  1. Remove plastic lid from oatmeal container and discard. The bottom of the canister will be the top of the drum.
  2. Glue construction paper to the outside of container to decorate as desired. 
  3. Insert sharpened pencil into cork (This step only for parents). Cover cork with square of fabric to cover and secure with a length of string or yarn.


Related Activity: Complete your musical instrument collection by making Rubber Band Guitars and Tube Flutes!

Plimoth Plantation

On the Plimoth Plantation website: 


Three Sisters Salad


In many Native American cultures, corn, beans and squash are known as the three sisters. From Celebrate the Three Sisters: 'The Iroquois believe corn, beans and squash are precious gifts from the Great Spirit, each watched over by one of three sisters spirits, called the De-o-ha-ko, or Our Sustainers". The planting season is marked by ceremonies to honor them, and a festival commemorates the first harvest of green corn on the cob. By retelling the stories and performing annual rituals, Native Americans passed down the knowledge of growing, using and preserving the Three Sisters through generations.' To learn more about the Three Sisters, see Three Sisters Garden on Renee's Garden.

Three Sisters Salad

Adapted from Southern Living's Three Sisters Salad.


  • 2 pounds butternut squash
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 cups frozen corn
  • 1 15.5 ounce can cannellini beans
  • 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Cut butternut squash into 3/4 inch pieces. Place on a rimmed baking sheet and toss with olive oil until coated. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes or until squash is tender. 
  2. Place frozen corn on another rimmed baking sheet and bake for 10 minutes until corn is warmed through.
  3. Drain and rinse beans. Combine squash, corn, and beans in a large bowl; toss add apple cider vinegar and salt and stir to evenly distribute. Serve warm or chilled.

More Corn: Red, White, and Blue CornbreadCornmeal PancakesSummer Vegetable Soup

More Beans: Olivia's Black, White, and Red Spaghetti

More Squash: Spiced Squash Seeds 

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