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Colonization Effects From First Encounter through US Federal Policy

Civics 3: The student understands the purposes and organization of international relationships and how US foreign policy is made.
History 1: The student examines and understands major ideas, eras, themes, developments, turning points, chronology, and cause-and-effect relationships in US, World, and Washington State history

GRADE LEVEL: Secondary

BASIC CONCEPTS: The decimation felt by American Indians by disease, violence, genocide and US Federal Policies.

ORGANIZING GENERALIZATION: American Indians have survived generations of attempts to assimilate their culture and their natural resources into the larger society. The study of the effects of colonization, disease, violence and detrimental federal policies on Indians should enable students to understand the unique positions tribes and tribal governments find themselves in.

CULTURE AREA: Entire Untied States

TIME PERIOD: First encounter to present

BACKGROUND: The estimates vary, but according to one reliable source, the population of Native Americans in the United States in 1492 was between 5 million and 15 million individuals. By 1900, the population of Native Americans was down to 250,000 because of disease, exploitation, enslavement, war and genocidal federal policies. Jamestown and other colonies' settlers had begun an aggressive policy of expansion by attrition. Indians began to resist with open hostility as the first major retaliation in 1622 resulted in the deaths of 347 settlers by Powhatan leader, Opechancanough. This conflict initiated a pattern of reciprocal atrocities that lasted for nearly 300 years. (Read info from "First Encounters") Indians were considered a sub-human race that must be removed or exterminated. Their status did not give them a basis for legal recognition in recourse in this country since they weren't allowed to bear witness against a white man in a court of law. When we consider the injustices perpetuated against an entire civilization because of "Manifest Destiny", we begin to heal the wounds American Indian people still feel today.


Knowledge Students will: (Civics 3.1) understand how the world is organized politically and how nations interact, 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: Participate in kinesthetic activity, process information, and reflect on lessons learned from activity.

Values Students will: analyze the relationships and tensions between national sovereignty and international issues, evaluate how US interests are maintained through international agreements, treaties, and alliances and describe US foreign policy now and in the past, AND describe life in the early US before and after European contact, identify and explain major issues, movements, people and events in US history from beginnings to 1877 with particular emphasis on change and continuity, and identify and analyze major issues, movements, people and events in US history from 1870 to the present with particular emphasis on growth and conflict.

ACTIVITIES: See "Federal Policy Activity", included in packet. After activity is complete, reassemble class back to their seats and initiate a dialogue about the concepts they have learned allowing students to comment on the event that most dramatically affected them during the activity.

EXTENSIONS: Students could be formed into groups to investigate each devastating event that had an affect on American Indian people. Reports back to the class orally could help everyone understand the depths of these issues.

EVALUATION: The seriousness of this issue should not overshadow the pleasure of a kinesthetic activity. Allow the students to react as each occurrence happens. Their reactions should be noted in the process and reflection time as the teacher asks how it felt to be constantly reduced and moved. Focus on change and continuity and on growth and conflict.


"Statistics on Native American Populations" from Native Net - http://nativenet.uthscsa.edu (Could use as overhead)

American Indian Facts of Life by George Russell

Indian Tribes as Sovereign Governments published by American Indian Lawyer Training Program

A People's History of the United States by Howard Zinn (Quotes in "First Encounters")

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