GRADE LEVEL: Secondary
BASIC CONCEPTS: Four hundred treaties were negotiated with the Native American Nations during the treaty making years that ended in 1871. The objective is to bring information and rational thought to the Native American treaty issue.
ORGANIZING GENERALIZATION: Examination of primary documents are crucial in this lesson because students must understand and reflect on the bias, privileges, preconceptions and position that we all bring to the study of any historic event. The treaties are living documents. Their guarantees and provisions are a part of the life of the people in this state. Do not confine discussion to a single point in time and do not use past tense when referring to Native cultures. It conveys Native cultures as no longer living or not participants in the contemporary world.
CULTURE AREA: Pacific Northwest
TIME PERIOD: 1850's to present.
BACKGROUND: "Treaties have been made with Indian tribes since the first European explorers visited North America. There are 366 treaties still in force with tribes in the United States. Indian treaties were made for several reasons. Tribes were frequently able to defend against encroachments on their lands, forcing American settlers to pay for what they needed. Many European nations refused to recognize the legitimacy of conquest as a means of acquiring tribal territory, so to protect its interest in international affairs the United States had to show that it was acquiring tribal lands peacefully. Finally, treaties often provided commercial and military advantages for both parties." p. 31 -taken from Understanding Indian Treaties as Law -from OSPI
Knowledge Students will: (Reading 2.1) comprehend important ideas and details, (Reading 2.2) expand comprehension by analyzing, interpreting, and synthesizing information and ideas, and (Reading 2.3) think critically and analyze author's use of language, style, purpose, and perspective. ALSO (History 1.1) understand historical time, chronology, and causation and (History 1.2) analyze the historical development of events, people, places, and patterns of life in US, World, and Washington State history.
Skills Students will: understand the significance of primary documents and will evaluate the contributing factors and significant events regarding the Steven's treaties of the Pacific Northwest.
Values Students will: demonstrate comprehension of varied texts especially technical materials, complex narratives, and exposition, summarize the main idea and supporting facts and details with evidence from reading, use prior knowledge of issues, characters, events, and information to examine texts and extend understanding, synthesize ideas from selections to make predictions and inferences about various texts. AND critically compare, contrast, and connect ideas within and among a broad range of texts, draw conclusions based on the validity and accuracy of what is read, and detect bias, stereotype, over generalization, association and other devices used by the author to influence an audience. ALSO work forward from an initiating event to its outcome recognizing cause-and-effect, multiple causation, or the accidental as factors in history, and analyze the historical development of Washington State history and government including the Washington State constitution.
ACTIVITIES: Use the activity Introducing Primary Documents as an initial activity, students should then study the original treaties to solve problems, recreate events, and examine multiple points of view, and using the activities and information included in Understanding Indian Treaties as Law (there are several excellent activities and lesson plans), students will then write an opinion piece about what they have learned. A suggested statement for writing project could be: "The Steven's treaties of Washington State are still controversial because . . "
EXTENSIONS: Writing a newspaper article referencing a current topic in the news (such as, Makah whaling rights or depletion of wild salmon stocks) with information from this lesson and sending it to school newspaper or local newspaper.OR an in-depth research paper on Governor Stevens or the main treaty-signing chiefs should be possible and very enlightening (using Internet, library resources).
EVALUATION: The primary document lesson should be revisited continuously regarding other historical events. It's important to comprehend the difference between primary and secondary documents and continually reference these materials.
Activity included: Introducing Primary Documents
Selections from Ch.7 of A People's History of the United States by Howard Zinn
Selection from Ch. 3 of Indians in the Making: Ethnic relations and Indian identities around Puget Sound by Alexandra Harmon
Available from OSPI- Office of Indian Education Understanding Indian Treaties as Law
Primary documents are included in Encounters: Models for an Integrated Approach to Early Washington Territorial and State History by Llyn DeDanaan, available from the Evergreen Center for Educational Improvement