After they listen: The Story of the Lakota Sioux
This is an activity I love to use in my US History classes. During our unit on Westward Expansion, we take a few days to trace the history of one Native American group over time. Rather than trying to cover every tribe, this is an effective way for students to get an idea of the Native American experience from Conquest to the modern day. I chose the Lakota Sioux because they have been at the center of some of the most famous conflicts between native people and the U.S. government for centuries.
First, I walk through the intro slides to give background to the Lakota Sioux tribe and what their initial relationship with the US government had been.
Next, I split students into three groups to research and present on one of the following events: the Fetterman Massacre, the Battle of Little Bighorn, or the Massacre at Wounded Knee. They research the events and create a presentation to tell the story of that event from the perspective of the native people.
After their presentations, I talk about the Native American experience in the 20th century up to the Standing Rock conflict. I find that it’s more impactful for students to learn about modern Native American issues (including the Civil Rights movement) right after they’ve learned about their experiences in the 19th century. Rather than splitting it up into multiple units, this helps students grasp the frustration and historical context of more modern native movements in the U.S.