Skip to main content

This House is Yours: Nebraska’s Iraqi Americans

By the Nebraska Folklife Network Inc., Lincoln NE

Manual (in Notebook)

  • Teachers Guide (90-100 pages) Contains 12 lesson plans, 4th and 8th grade NE educational standards addressed, handout masters and an appendix of reference materials.

Photos and other Images

  • Image Packet (Contains a two-part timeline, and 30 other images, including photographs, drawings, maps, etc. Details are on a list of images in the packet and on the backs of the images.)


  • Traditional Clothing – Traditional clothing is included for both males and females and both Arabic and Kurdish ethnic groups. Almost all are in sizes that will best fit older students or smaller adults. However because they are loose fitting they accommodate a variety of sizes. All the clothing in the kit is authentic and much of it was brought from Iraq. In this country it is not common to find traditional clothing because Iraqis, especially the younger ones, wear mostly western clothing. Exceptions are made for special or formal occasions. The Kurdish outfits were all handmade either in Iraq or in the U.S. The boy’s traditional Kurdish outfit is the only smaller sized outfit in this kit. 

    1 woman’s outfit in the traditional style generally worn by Iraqis who are Arabic. It consists of a long dress with long sleeves and a headscarf. The scarf, called a hijab, is worn so that it completely covers the hair. In the U.S., as in Iraq, it must be worn at all times when women and older girls are out in public. 

    1 black abaya, which is a voluminous outer cloak that is now mostly worn by older or very devout Arabic women in Iraq and is very seldom seen in the U.S. It is a similar covering to the burka worn by women in Afghanistan.

    1 Arabic man’s outfit consisting of a long shirt, called a dishdasha, that is typically worn over underwear and loose trousers, and a head covering. The head covering consists of a small white cap over which the kaffiyeh, a scarf folded into a triangle, is draped and then secured by the agal a circular black plaited rope, which is sometimes made from camel hair.

    1 Kurdish woman’s outfit that consists of a short vest, a long underdress and a typically sheer overdress with very long, tapered sleeves that hang to the floor. The accompanying bloomer-like pants are worn under the dress. Note that scrap materials are often used for the upper part of the pants, which never shows.

    1 Kurdish boy’s outfit with a long sleeved shirt and the typically baggy, full cut pants. The long sash is wound around the waist like a cummerbund and traditionally would hold valuables and a dagger or two. This outfit is sometimes worn with a close fitting hat or a turban.
  • One 2 x 3 ft Iraqi Flag
  • One small home decoration with verses from the Koran.

Audio Media

  • Alhaj, Rahim
    When the Soul is Settled: Music of Iraq, Audio CD, 2006, Smithsonian Folkways Recordings, Washington, DC

    Nine selections of both traditional and modern Iraqi instrumental music played on the oud, which is Iraq’s national instrument and accompanied with percussion by Souhail Kaspar. Liner notes for the CD are in the appendix of the teacher’s manual.
  • Excerpts from interview with Rowshan Ali of Lincoln about her henna art and her Kurdish family’s immigration to the U.S. Audio CD
  • Excerpts from interview with Zainab Al-Baaj of Lincoln about Iraqi culture. Audio CD
  • Excerpts from interview with Adnan Aljabiry of Lincoln, the Imam (spiritual leader) of the Nebraska Islamic Foundation’s mosque, about his role in the community, the Islamic faith and Iraqi culture. Audio CD
  • Excerpts from interview with Maitham Al-Sammak of Lincoln about Iraqi culture and his graduate studies in Lincoln. Audio CD
  • Excerpts from interview with Yahya Farhan of Lincoln about Iraqi traditional foods and culture. Audio CD
  • Excerpts from interview with Said Rauf of Lincoln about his art and Kurdish culture. Audio CD

Video Media

  • Ghobadi, Bahman, Turtles Can Fly, an award winning film about Kurdish street children who must risk their lives and limbs by combing mine fields for saleable scrap in order to survive. (Recommended for older students due to mature content.) 2005, Length 1 hr 37 min DVD, IFC and BAC Films
  • Longley, James, Iraq in Fragments, a highly acclaimed, award winning 3 part film that examines the life of a poor Sunni boy in Bagdad, a Shia Muslim religious event and the viewpoint of Kurdish Iraqis in northern Iraq. 2006, Length: 1 hr 34 min Subtitles (has 2nd disk with additional features.) DVD, Typecast Releasing


  • Road Maps
    Iraq: Map for Businessmen & Tourists – Road map of Iraq, 2006, Gizi Map, Budapest, Hungary
  • Middle East – Road map of the Middle East region, 2006, Map Link, Santa Barbara, CA


  • Alkalesi, Yasin M.
    Iraqi Phrasebook, 2004, (Paperback), McGraw-Hill, New York
  • Augustin, Byron and Kubena, Jake
    Iraq, (Enchantment of the World Second Series) 2006, Scholastic - Children’s Press, New York
  • Folk Tales from Iraq, 1995, (Paperback) Books & Books, Ltd., London, UK
  • Gaafer, Mahmoud and Wightwick, Jane
    Arabic Dictionary and Phrasebook, 2003, Hippocrene Books, New York
  • Shepard, Aaron
    The Enchanted Storks: A Tale of Bagdad, 2004, Clarion Books, New York
  • Stamaty, Mark Alan.
    Alia’s Mission: Saving the Books of Iraq, 2004, Alfred A Knopf,   New York
  • Al-Windawi, Thura
    Thura’s Diary: My Life in Wartime Iraq, 2004, Viking Press, New York
  • Winter, Jeanette
    The Librarian of Basra: A True Story from Iraq, 2005 Harcourt, San Diego, CA