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Native American HistoryNative-American-History

  • Subject: U.S. History
  • |
  • Grade(s): 9-12
  • |
  • Duration: Two class periods

Lesson Plan Sections

Objectives


Students will understand the following:
1. Chief Joseph was well educated and articulate in English.
2. Chief Joseph tried to break white people's stereotypes about Native Americans.

Materials


For this lesson, you will need:
A copy of an excerpt from the magazine article "An Indian's Views of Indian Affairs" (see Procedures)
Access to additional reference materials about Chief Joseph

Procedures


1. Tell students that you are going to devote a class period to reading the piece of Native American literature included below and analyzing it in a class discussion. Begin by explaining that the piece you will read is from the 19th century but that, unlike so much Native American literature that began orally and later was written down, this piece originated as a written document. Go on to say that the piece was published in a magazine for a white audience in 1879, two years after the writer had surrendered to the U.S. government; that the piece was written by the Nez Perce leader Chief Joseph, whose father had been converted to Christianity by a missionary; and that the son was educated in a mission school.
2. After you've looked over the following excerpt, read it aloud to your students. You may want to read it aloud twice with students taking notes the second time. (The excerpt is reproduced from Adventures in American Literature [Austin: Holt, Rinehart and Winston, 1996].)

from "An Indian's Views of Indian Affairs"

My friends, I have been asked to show you my heart. I am glad to have a chance to do so. I want the white people to understand my people. Some of you think an Indian is like a wild animal. This is a great mistake. I will tell you all about our people, and then you can judge whether an Indian is a man or not. I believe much trouble and blood would be saved if we opened our hearts more. I will tell you in my way how the Indian sees things. The white man has more words to tell you how they look to him, but it does not require many words to speak the truth. What I have to say will come from my heart, and I will speak with a straight tongue. Ah-cum-kin-i-ma-me-hut (the Great Spirit) is looking at me, and will hear me.
 
My name is In-mut-yah-lat-lat (Thunder traveling over the Mountains). I am chief of the Wal-lam-wat-kin band of Chute-pa-lu, or Nez Perces (nose-pierced Indians). I was born in eastern Oregon, thirty-eight winters ago. My father was chief before me. When a young man, he was called Joseph by Mr. Spaulding, a missionary. He died a few years ago. He left a good name on earth. He advised me well for my people.
 
Our fathers gave us many laws, which they had learned from their fathers. These laws were good. They told us to treat all men as they treated us; that we should never be the first to break a bargain; that it was a disgrace to tell a lie; that we should speak only the truth; that it was a shame for one man to take from another his wife or [to take] his property without paying for it. We were taught to believe that the Great Spirit sees and hears everything, and that he never forgets; that hereafter he will give every man a spirit-home according to his deserts: if he has been a good man, he will have a good home; if he has been a bad man, he will have a bad home. This I believe, and all my people believe the same.

3. First, ask students to demonstrate their comprehension of Chief Joseph's piece by paraphrasing it based on their notes and memory.
4. Next, initiate a class discussion about how the piece might have surprised listeners because instead of reinforcing stereotypes of Native Americans as wild, uneducated people, it shows a Native American as apparently well educated in the English language and in Christian-like thinking.
5. In continuing to debunk myths about Native Americans, ask students how they imagine Chief Joseph dressed. Then ask students to locate some of the many photographs taken of Chief Joseph and widely available in reference books. (Among the photographers whose images of Joseph have come down to us are William Henry Jackson and John H. Fouch.) How does Joseph's clothes in those photos support or undercut students' initial guesses of what Joseph wore? Draw out from students that Joseph's clothes were appropriate for the climate he lived in and the work he did.

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Adaptations


Direct students to locate and read the rest of "An Indian's Views of Indian Affairs" as well as the speech Chief Joseph delivered on January 14, 1879, to a joint session of Congress. Ask students to comment in writing on Joseph's rhetorical techniques.

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Discussion Questions


1. Discuss the efforts and compromises that the Cherokee people made to adapt and live peacefully with their new neighbors. What does the capital Echota symbolize? Discuss how and why their efforts failed.
2. In 1830, Congress passed the Indian Removal Act. In 1832, the Supreme Court found Georgia's Cherokee legislation unconstitutional. Review the U.S. Constitution and debate the two decisions in class. Do you think the Cherokee legislation was unconstitutional? Why or why not? Do you think the Indian Removal Act was constitutional? Why or why not?
3. Do you agree or disagree with government policy which relocated Native Americans from their homeland reservations?
4. Discuss the similarities and differences between cultures of Native American and American expansionists. To the Dakota, the land was everything. Describe and discuss the relationship between the Dakota Indians and the land.
5. Discuss why the Dakota agreed to let the U.S. build a fort and trading post near Kaposia in 1805. How did this decision change their way of life forever?
6. Try to place yourself in the shoes of a young American expansionist in the 1800s. Would you venture west to find gold? How do you think your expedition would affect the Native Americans already living there?
7. Discuss the difference in the meaning of the words "Lakota" and "Sioux."
8. It wasn't just land that the Indians wanted to retain. It was their way of life. Discuss "the way of life" for the Lakota. Make a list of the things they were in danger of losing.
9. Explore and discuss the significance of the Bozeman Trail. Then explain why it was important to the Lakota.
10. Discuss the meaning of Chief Joseph's words, "I will fight no more forever." What was he saying and who was he saying it to?
11. History tells many stories of indigenous people around the world who are fighting to keep or regain their land. Discuss other places in the world where people are fighting over rights to land and compare their struggles to America's dilemma in the 1800s.
12. Discuss what you think life was like for the Nez Perce on the reservation. What do you know about their lifestyle, education, local government, religion, etc.?

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Evaluation


Make notes about students' participation in the class discussions: making contributions and listening respectfully to others' comments.

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Extensions


Biography of a Chief
Have students research a Native American leader and then write a biography of the leader, appropriate for a reader in third or fourth grade. Among leaders students might study are Chief Joseph, Little Crow, and Red Cloud. The biography should include information about how the leader related to his tribe and what lasting principles he lived and ruled by.

Create a Time Line
Ask your students to make a historical time line showing important events in Native American history from the arrival of white people in the 17th century up to the present day.

A Tribal Fact Book
Have your students choose a Native American tribe and make a historical fact book outlining the tribe's history and current status. Students should include information on how the tribe was affected by the encroachment of white settlers and the imposition of federal policies.

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Suggested Readings


"Cherokee People: The Story of the Cherokees from Earliest Origins to Contemporary Times"
Thomas E. Mails, Marlowe and Company, 1996


"Warriors and Pioneers: In their Own Words"
T.J. Stiles, Editor, Perigee Book, 1996


"The Return of the Lakota: An Indian People Thrive 500 Years After Columbus"
Conger Beasley, Jr., E Magazine, September/October 1992


"Children of Grace: The Nez Perce War of 1877"
Bruce Hampton, Henry Holt & Company 1994


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Links


Native Americans and the Frontier West
This is a comprehensive collection of 80 links on the topic of Native Americans and the American frontier, which satisfy the curiosity of most and serve as a wonderful starting point for everyone else. Created by Dennis Boals, it includes topics such as the "Index of Native American Resources on the Internet," the "Pueblo Cultural Center," "Art of the American Indian Frontier," "The Cherokee's Home Page," "Southwest Weavings," "Wild West - the Home Page," "Indigenous Nations of North America," and the "National Museum of the American Indian."

Native American Sites
This extremely thorough site of Native American resources and information is the creation of Lisa Mitten, "a mixed-blood Mohawk, urban Indian, and a librarian at the University of Pittsburgh." She offers information on Native American organizations, tribal colleges, and Native American studies programs. She also provides information on individual nations in a section which contains links to pages that have either been set up by the nations themselves, or are pages devoted to a particular nation. These are listed alphabetically by tribal name, and there are literally hundreds available.

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Vocabulary


Click on any of the vocabulary words below to hear them pronounced and used in a sentence.

speaker    assimilated
Definition: Absorbed into the prevailing culture.
Context: Other Americans did not want the Indians to be assimilated.

speaker    diplomacy
Definition: The practice and art of conducting negotiations with other people or nations.
Context: In the end, the Cherokee's attempt at diplomacy and adaptation failed.

speaker    emigration
Definition: The act of leaving a native country or region and settling elsewhere.
Context: He convinced Washington to allow the Cherokee to handle the emigration to the West themselves.

speaker    Indian Removal Act
Definition: Legislation passed in 1830 that ordered the removal of all Native Americans to territories west of the Mississippi River.
Context: On May 23rd, Congress passed Jackson's Indian Removal Act and Georgia swiftly passed its own legislation.

speaker    genocide
Definition: The systematic annihilation of a racial, ethnic, national or cultural group.
Context: "We can't sit here and watch our kids die in this manner or our elders die in this manner, this slow death; this genocide that they're doing."

speaker    relinquish
Definition: To surrender or release control of.
Context: Ramsey presented the Dakota with a treaty that would relinquish their land.

speaker    reservation
Definition: Land set apart by the government for settlement by Native Americans.
Context: The Dakota people prepared to depart for the reservation, a narrow strip of land along the upper Minnesota River.

speaker    Lakota
Definition: An important Native American tribal group of the Plains cultural area, also known as "Sioux."
Context: They called themselves the "Lakota," a word meaning "friend."

speaker    prospectors
Definition: People who search for mineral and ore deposits.
Context: In the 1840s, prospectors began to cross Lakota hunting lands while traveling west in search of gold.

speaker    rations
Definition: A fixed share or portion of allotted food.
Context: The government also agreed to provide the Indians with life-sustaining rations until they became self-supporting.

speaker    reservation
Definition: Land set apart by the government for settlement by Native Americans.
Context: The treaty established the Great Sioux Reservation, an area which included all of present day South Dakota west of the Missouri River.

speaker    Sioux
Definition: An important confederacy of Native American tribes in the Plains cultural region.
Context: "Settlers knew them as "Sioux," a word meaning "enemy."

speaker    unceded
Definition: Not yielded or granted by treaty.
Context: As many as 3,000 Lakota had refused to sign the 1868 treaty and continued to live in the Powder River region, designated by the U.S. as unceded Indian territory.

speaker    ancestral rights
Definition: Rights to land or other possessions by way of inheritance.
Context: Many settlers ignored Indian ancestral rights to the land.

speaker    oppressors
Definition: Persecutors or abusers of power and authority.
Context: Seething with rage over the injustices, three young men rode out seeking revenge against their oppressors.

speaker    reservation
Definition: Land set apart by the government for settlement by Native Americans.
Context: For the next five years, U.S. authorities tried to get Joseph, his followers, and his allies to come to the reservation.

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Standards


This lesson plan may be used to address the academic standards listed below. These standards are drawn from Content Knowledge: A Compendium of Standards and Benchmarks for K-12 Education: 2nd Edition and have been provided courtesy of theMid-continent Research for Education and Learningin Aurora, Colorado.
 
Grade level: 6-8
Subject area: U.S. history
Standard:
Understands the United States territorial expansion between 1801 and 1861, and how it affected relations with external powers and Native Americans.
Benchmarks:
Understands how early state and federal policy influenced various Native American tribes (e.g. survival strategies by individual Native American leaders, the Cherokee and Choctaw removals, environmental differences between Native American homelands and resettlement areas, the Black Hawk War and removal policies in the Old Northwest).

Grade level: 6-8
Subject area: life skills
Standard:
Applies decision-making techniques.
Benchmarks:
Analyzes decisions in terms of the options that were considered (e.g. the Cherokee retain their land in Georgia or are forcibly removed from it).

Grade level: 6-8
Subject area: civics
Standard:
Understand issues concerning the disparities between ideals and reality in American political and social life.
Benchmarks:
Knows some of the discrepancies that have arisen between American ideals and the realities of political and social life in the United States (e.g., the denial of equal rights to Native Americans in the 19th century).

Grade level: 9-12
Subject area: U.S. history
Standard:
Understands the United States territorial expansion between 1801 and 1861, and how it affected relations with external powers and Native Americans.
Benchmarks:
Understands shifts in the U.S. government's policy toward Native Americans in the first half of the 19th century (e.g. from assimilation to removal and isolation after 1825, arguments for and against removal policy, Cherokee resistance to removal and their attempts to retain their cultural heritage).

Grade level: 9-12
Subject area: life skills
Standard:
Applies decision-making techniques.
Benchmarks:
Analyzes decisions that were major turning points in history and describes how things might have been different if other alternatives had been selected (e.g., the Cherokee removal as a case study in United States government/Native American relations).

Grade level: 9-12
Subject area: civics
Standard:
Understands issues concerning the disparities between ideals and reality in American political and social life.
Benchmarks:
Knows discrepancies between American ideals and the realities of American social and political life (e.g., the Cherokee and Choctaw removals of the 1830s as case studies).

Grade level: 6-8
Subject area: U.S. history
Standard:
Understand the United States territorial expansion between 1801 and 1861, and how it affected relations with external powers and Native Americans.
Benchmarks:
Understand the short-term political and long-term cultural impacts of the Louisiana Purchase (e.g. its impact on Native Americans between 1801 and 1861).

Grade level: 6-8
Subject area: behavioral studies
Standard:
Understands that group and cultural influences contribute to human development, identity, and behavior.
Benchmarks:
Understand that each culture has distinctive patterns of behavior that are usually practiced by most of the people in it (e.g., the role the land plays in the culture of the Dakotas).

Grade level: 6-8
Subject area: health
Standard:
Knows environmental and external factors that affect individual and community needs.
Benchmarks:
Knows cultural beliefs, socioeconomic considerations, and other environmental factors within a community that influence the health of its members (e.g., the depletion of the Dakota1s hunting grounds).

Grade level: 9-12
Subject area: U.S. history
Standard:
Understand the United States territorial expansion between 1801 and 1861, and how it affected relations with external powers and Native Americans.
Benchmarks:
Understands the Louisiana Purchase (e.g., its effect of westward expansion; its resultant cause of the loss of Native American land; the impact of this loss on Native American life and culture).

Grade level: 9-12
Subject area: behavioral studies
Standard:
Understands that group and cultural influences contribute to human development, identity, and behavior.
Benchmarks:
Understands that cultural beliefs strongly influence the values and behavior of the people who grow up in the culture, often without their being fully aware of it, and that people have different responses to these influences (e.g., the Dakotas and their response to the loss of their land).

Grade level: 9-12
Subject area: health
Standard:
Knows environmental and external factors that affect individual and community needs.
Benchmarks:
Understands how the environment influences the health of the community (e.g., environmental issues that affect the food supply and the nutritional quality of food; the Dakota's loss of land and its influence on their food supply).

Grade level: 6-8
Subject area: U.S. history
Standard:
Understands federal Indian policy and United States foreign policy after the Civil War.
Benchmarks:
Understands interaction between Native Americans and white society in the late 19th century (e.g., the attitudes and policies of government officials, the Army, missionaries, settlers, and the general public toward Native Americans; Native American responses to increased white settlement; mining activities, and railroad construction).

Grade level: 6-8
Subject area: geography
Standard:
Understands the changes that occur in the meaning, use, distribution, and importance of resources.
Benchmarks:
Understands the consequences of the need for resources (e.g., the discovery of gold in the Dakotas which led to the encroachment of whites on Sioux and Cheyenne land).

Grade level: 6-8
Subject area: language arts
Standard:
Demonstrates a familiarity with selected works of enduring quality.
Benchmarks:
Demonstrates an understanding of selected works of fiction and non-fiction (e.g., works related to the Battle of Little Big Horn).

Grade level: 9-12
Subject area: U.S. history
Standard:
Understands federal Indian policy and United States foreign policy after the Civil War.
Benchmarks:
Understand influences on and perspectives of Native American life in the late 19th century (e.g., leadership and values of Native American leaders; depiction of Native Americans and whites by 19th century artists).

Grade level: 9-12
Subject area: geography
Standard:
Understands the changes that occur in the meaning, use, distribution, and importance of resources.
Benchmarks:
Understands the relationships between resources and exploration, colonization, and settlement of different regions of the world (e.g., the discovery of gold and the settlement of the American West and their influence on Native American life and culture).

Grade level: 9-12
Subject area: language arts
Standard:
Demonstrates a familiarity with selected works of enduring quality.
Benchmarks:
Demonstrates a familiarity with a variety of classical American literary works and their authors (e.g., those related to the Battle of Little Big Horn).

Grade level: 6-8
Subject area: U.S. history
Standard:
Understands how the rise of big business, heavy industry, and mechanized farming transformed American society.
Benchmarks:
Understands social development and labor patterns in the late 19th century West (e.g., major technological and geographic influences that affected farming, mining, and ranching; how these led to the displacement of Native American tribes).

Grade level: 6-8
Subject area: civics
Standard:
Understands issues regarding personal, political, and economic rights.
Benchmarks:
Knows what constitutes personal rights (e.g., to live where one chooses; to travel freely; to emigrate); these rights were denied to the Nez Perce.

Grade level: 6-8
Subject area: geography
Standard:
Knows the location of places, geographic features, and patterns of the environment.
Benchmarks:
Knows the location and human features on maps (e.g., the escape route of Chief Joseph and the Nez Perce; the difficulty of the trek due to land features).

Grade level: 9-12
Subject area: U.S. history
Standard:
Understands how the rise of big business, heavy industry, and mechanized farming transformed American society.
Benchmarks:
Understand impacts on economic conditions in various regions of the country (e.g., the extension of railroad lines; increased agricultural productivity and improved transportation facilities on commodity prices; the destruction of western buffalo herds; how these helped pave the way for Native American removal).

Grade level: 9-12
Subject area: civics
Standard:
Understands issues regarding personal, political, and economic rights.
Benchmarks:
Understands how personal, political, and economic rights are secured by constitutional government and by such means as the rule of law, checks and balances, an independent judiciary, and a vigilant citizenry. The Nez Perce were denied access to all of these.

Grade level: 9-12
Subject area: geography
Standard:
Knows the location of places, geographic features, and patterns of the environment.
Benchmarks:
Knows the spatial dynamics of various historical events (e.g., the territory where the Nez Perce lived; the place to which the American government wished to move them; the "escape route" used by Chief Joseph and the Nez Perce; how close they came to escaping into Canada).

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Credit


Summer Productions, Inc.

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