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Traditional Tribal Homelands of Washington's Plateau Nations

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Keywords: native american, US history, Indian Wars, Yakama, Indian Wars, Tribal Sovereignty
Subject(s): Geography, Social Studies, English/Language Arts, Civics, History
Grades 6 through 12
School: Broadview-Thomson Elem School, Seattle, WA
Planned By: Shana Brown
Original Author: Shana Brown, Seattle

After students have researched the spiritual, economic, cultural, and political significance of traditional tribal homelands, students will explore the roles of key stakeholders in the Walla Walla Treaty Council of 1855 that resulted in the treaty between the United States and the newly formed Confederated Bands and Tribes of the Yakama Nation. Students’ activities will lead them to a Content Based Assessment presentation on how conflict could have been alleviated or avoided altogether.
Grade Level: 6-8
Curriculum: Social Studies
Keywords: tribal sovereignty, american indian, tribal homelands, Walla Walla Treaty Council, Yakama treaty, Plateau nations, stevens treaties, treaty, sovereignty, plateau, indians, tribe, tribes, Washington State,

ou and your team will respond to Part 1's Guiding Question: Given the physical geography, language groups, and economic, spiritual, and cultural lives of the pre-treaty Plateau tribes, what issues might cause conflict within the tribes, between tribes and non-Indian encroachers, and between the tribes and the Federal Government?

In order to identify the issues, you will need to

learn about the homelands of Plateau people and identify what is required to sustain tribal lifeways.

contrast the needs of Plateau tribes to the growing number of non-Indian settlers and the Federal Government.

predict impending conflicts when societal needs and beliefs differ

Describe the following aspects of Plateau Homelands and Culture:

The importance of tribal language to culture and tribal sovereignty
The role geography plays in determining traditional tribal boundaries
The complexities of the Seasonal Round
How Plateau people conducted trade with Indians and non-Indians

Your product will be a graphic organizer that you will post in your classroom as a reference guide as you continue the unit. The organizer will present your findings on the political, economic, cultural, and spiritual necessities for the sustenance of Plateau tribal societies in a graphic organizer suitable for posting in the classroom and used as a reference for the remainder of the unit.

You will be organized into teams of three. Your teacher may or may not assign teams to specific areas on which to focus.

1. Use the Regional Learning Project's Traditional Culture page on the Walla Walla, Cayuse, and Umatilla tribes (who signed their treaty at the same time the Yakama did) to acquaint yourselves to traditional tribal culture and complete the Aspects of Traditional Homelands Matrix. The download is available in this WebQuest.

3. Compare a political map of contemporary Washington State, a topographical map of Washington Territory, and maps or descriptions of traditional tribal regions.

5. Explore the information and primary source rich Treaty Trail Website sponsored by the Washington State Historical Society. There you will find detailed accounts of the growing animosity and violence between Plateau nations and non-Indians. Spend a lot of time here.

7. Obtain a map of the traditional boundaries of one of the Yakama Treaty Tribes (see Columbia River Intertribal Fish Commission and The Governor's Office of Indian Affairs for comprehensive lists and links to specific tribal websites.) AND visit the Who's Who page on the Umatilla, Cayuse, and Walla Walla section of the Trail Tribes website. How do boundaries differ? Why? What role does geography play in tribal boundaries? political boundaries? The answer sheet is dowloadable below.

9. Visit the University of Washington Pacific Northwest History page and read the materials under Unit 3: Fur Traders, Indians, and Anglo-American Rivalry for the Northwest, 1806 - 1846 to explore Indian and non-Indian competition and conflict for land and natural resources.

11. Your teacher may have your team or your entire class watch interviews of tribal people and their perspectives on the treaty era and the importance of their homelands. Complete the activities as assigned.

13. Brainstorm the conflicting goals and needs of the settlers, traders, tribes, and government and predict what further conflict might develop. Use the organizational chart provided.

15. Develop a plan for how you wish to display this information in your classroom. Get your teacher's approval before proceeding. It needs to clearly depict the information gathered in your Tribal Homelands Matrix.

17. Determine which team members will present which parts of your display.

19. Keep the display up in class for the duration of the unit.
This is part of curriculum I've written for Washington State's Department of Indian Education's tribal sovereignty curriculum. Our intent is to share with all who are interested. Please credit us when you use it!
Cross-Curriculum Ideas
Use with literature, such as "Blood Is Read, So Am I", "When The River Ran WIld",
Continue researching local tribal history in your area. It is there and has been there since the beginning of time, since time immemorial.
Links: Link to WebQuest
Link to Trail Tribes (U of MT)
Delicious Bookmarks on Tribal History and Sovereignty
Materials: Mobile Labs, Flash/USB Drives, Social Studies
Other Items: 1 DVD Series Tribal Perspectives on History in the Northwest (Regional Learning Project), $95.00 each, total of $95.00