Academy Curricular Exchange
Columbia Education Center
Social Studies


AUTHOR:  Maureen Crosby, Juneau-Douglas High School,
         Juneau, Alaska


OVERVIEW:  When studying the settlement phase of the
westward movement in the United States, students must
understand what motivated settlers to migrate west and
the impact this migration had upon indigenous people of
the U.S.  The questions they must answer are:  What
goals did the settlers have?  What goals did Native
Americans have?  When conflicts in goals occurred, how
was the conflict resolved?

PURPOSE:  This lesson helps students recognize the
interaction between early settlers and indigenous
people in the U.S.

TO analyze changes in the U.S. economy precipitating
     the westward movement
TO recognize the impact of the Indian Removal Act on
     displaced  Natives in the early West and the
     impact on Native attitudes today
TO experience negotiating skills through a treaty
     negotiation simulation

1.   Geography:  Give each student a blank map of the
     U.S. Overhead project a map of the trails for them
     to copy on their blank map.  Have them label each
     trail.  Use this for a study guide for a quiz
2.   Recognizing Assumptions:  Recognizing assumptions
     helps you understand when people have acted
     because of what they assumed, or believed without
     proof.  In the 1800's, many people assumed that
     availability of land in the West meant the chance
     for a better life.  Thousands risked their lives
     on this assumption--an assumption that was often
     proven false by the harsh reality of frontier
     living.  Conduct a full class practice discussion
     with teacher as the leader model.  Appoint a
     facilitator and a recorder.  Discuss textbook and
     supplemental readings about settlers migrating
     west.  These practice discussion skills will
     prepare them for treaty negotiations later.
3.   Indian Removal:  Students will choose one of the
     linguistic families of Native Americans and form
     research groups of 3-4 students.  They may
     research together the tribes within each
     linguistic family.  Each student will produce
     his/her own original research paper on a tribe or
     tribes.  These will be presented to the class.
     Visual components are encouraged.
4.   Using discussion skills, discuss the values that
     lay behind the actions and statements of the
     people involved in the Cherokee removal.  What
     values and goals motivated Jackson?  What values
     influenced the actions and responses of the
5.   Ask students to imagine they were forced to leave
     their homes suddenly last night, taking nothing
     with them.  Have them write about what they will
     miss most.

MATERIALS:  Blank U.S. map, map of U.S. and trails
west, readings on westward migration, map of Indian
tribes and linguistic families, library for research on
Native American tribes, cookbooks of traditional Indian
and pioneer foods.

Treaty Negotiation Simulation:  Students are divided
into 2 groups:    1.  Settlers and Indian Agent and
                  2. Native American tribe.
Indians must determine what their needs are in
selecting a reservation site.  Settlers must determine
their settlement needs.  Each must negotiate through
the Indian Agent to try to reach a treaty and establish
a reservation.  Optional surprise element:  Teacher
arranges for a community person or someone outside the
class to come in and role play a missionary bent on
eradicating traditional ways and converting the Indians
to white religion and customs.  Optional:  Prepare
traditional Indian and pioneer foods for a feast to
seal the treaty.  This would only be appropriate if
both sides are somewhat satisfied with the treaty

TYING IT TOGETHER:  Conduct a debriefing and  a written
exercise regarding the dynamics of negotiations,
personal feelings regarding the outcome of the treaty,
and how the historical events might influence Native
American attitudes today.


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