Academic Controversy in the History Classroom This workshop is sponsored in part by the Library of Congress Teaching with Primary Sources Eastern Region Program, coordinated by Waynesburg University. Historical Question: Were the Indian Wars of the late 1800’s inevitable?Author: William James Walton, Sr.Class/Grade Level: United States History II – 11th GradeCT Standards: H.S. 2.2-6: Determine the central ideas of, and be able to, summarize informationfrom primary and secondary sources.H.S. 2.2-11: Integrate and evaluate multiple sources of information presented in diverse formats andmedia in order to address a question or solve a problem.H.S. 2.4-23: Ask relevant questions related to social studies/history to initiate, extend or debate apoint of view.Overview:The years following the Civil War saw an unprecedented push into the lands between Great Plainsand the Pacific Ocean. The necessity of establishing communication and trade routes between theeastern seaboard and the west, and population pressures, among other things, resulted in a need forland by both railroad companies and a push by settlers into western lands. The governmentattempted to resolve the issue of Native American resistance to such efforts by establishing a numberof treaties promising that there would be no further encroachment on Native American lands, but suchtreaties were often ignored by white settlers eager to settle the West, or who had found mineralwealth in the area. The failure of the government to keep and maintain these treaties were theultimate cause of the Indian Wars, which transpired over the course of the last 40 years of the 19thcentury and involved many different Native American tribes.Document Summary:Document 1 shows picture of America, symbolized by the woman in white, leading settlers westward.As wagons and trains of settlers move westward, and railroads and communication lines are built, theNative Americans look back as they are pushed off the scene. The absence of military figures in thepicture should suggest to students that conflict was avoidable. Students should also recognize thatthe idea of being pushed off of the scene may cause some resistance from Native Americans.Document 2 is an except from the second inaugural address of Ulysses S. Grant, indicating thegovernment’s official position of pursuing peaceful relations with Native Americans. Students shouldgather from this that there was no desire for conflict with Native Americans from the U.S.government.
Document 3 gives excerpts from letters written by settlers in the west, who may have wondered ifthey had to fear Native American attacks. The excerpts should suggest to students that settlers didnot initiate conflict with Native Americans, nor did Native Americans initiate any conflicts with whitesettlers.Document 4 is an excerpt from an essay written by Fredrick Jackson Turner, describing from ahistorical perspective the causes and effects of the closing of the frontier. Students should gatherfrom this excerpt that conflict was an natural consequence of the westward advance of Americansettlers.Document 5 shows a meeting between white government officials (military) and Native Americanleaders. The government officials are seated, the Native American leaders are all standing or seatedon horseback and may or may not be armed. Students should gather from this photo that there wereattempts by both sides to maintain peaceful relations and avoid future conflicts, or end existing ones.Document 6 gives the recorded recollections of the leader of one of the Native American tribes whowaged war against the U.S. Students should gather from this document that Native Americanresponses to violence against them were not premeditated and that without precipitating factors,Native Americans would not have any reason to wage war against the U.S.Document 7 provides the opening lines of the Fort Laramie Treaty of 1868, which set the grounds forfuture relations between Native Americans and white settlers. Students should gather from thisdocument that both Native Americans and the U.S. government desired to maintain peacefulrelations and avoid conflictsDocument 8 gives the recorded recollections of the leader of one of the last Native American groupsto be forced off of their lands to reservations. Students should gather from this document that NativeAmericans did not seek conflict with white settlers but used it as a last resort in responding toconflicts initiated against themProcedure (80 minutes): 1. Introduction of lesson, objectives, overview of SAC procedure (15 minutes) 2. SAC group assignments (30 minutes) a. Assign groups of four and assign arguments to each team of two. b. In each group, teams read and examine the Document Packet c. Each student completes the Preparation part of the Capture Sheet (#2), and works with their partner to prepare their argument using supporting evidence. d. Students should summarize your argument in #3. 3. Position Presentation (10 minutes) a. Team 1 presents their position using supporting evidence recorded and summarized on the Preparation part of the Capture Sheet (#2 & #3) on the Preparation matrix. Team 2 records Team 1’s argument in #4. b. Team 2 restates Team 1’s position to their satisfaction. c. Team 2 asks clarifying questions and records Team 1’s answers. d. Team 2 presents their position using supporting evidence recorded and summarized on the Preparation part of the Capture Sheet (#2 & #3) on the Preparation matrix. Team 1 records Team 2’s argument in #4. e. Team 1 restates Team 2’s position to their satisfaction. f. Team 1 asks clarifying questions and records Team 2’s answers.
4. Consensus Building (10 minutes) a. Team 1 and 2 put their roles aside. b. Teams discuss ideas that have been presented, and figure out where they can agree or where they have differences about the historical questionClosure:Students’ use of the documents to come to a conclusion about the nature of Native American/whiterelations will be evident in the nature of their discussions and of their final concluding statements inanswer to the questionAssessment:Students will choose a side and, using supporting evidence from the documents provided, write anexpository essay explaining their position on the question of whether the Indian Wars of the late1800’s were inevitable.Differentiation:For spatial/visual learners, maps showing the progressive loss of Native American lands over timewould be suitable substitutions for the text documents. Another modification for such learners wouldbe the use of more photos showing the relationship between white settlers and Native Americans,some peaceful, some violent. For special needs students, longer text would be annotated andsimplified and more emphasis would be given to defining difficult vocabulary words.
DOCUMENT PACKET Document 1There was a belief that the United States was destined to expand from the Atlantic to thePacific, captured in this 1873 portrait by George A. Crofutt. Titled American Progress, it showsAmerica, symbolized by the woman, leading American settlers westward.Source: http://memory.loc.gov/cgi-bin/query/r?ammem/awhbib:@field(NUMBER+@od1(cph+3a04647))
Document 2In Grant’s Second Inaugural Address, he proposes, among other things, themanner in which Native Americans are to be treated.My efforts in the future will be directed to…by a humane course, to bring the aborigines of the countryunder the benign influences of education and civilization. It is either this or war of extermination: Wars ofextermination, engaged in by people pursuing commerce and all industrial pursuits, are expensive evenagainst the weakest people, and are demoralizing and wicked. Our superiority of strength and advantagesof civilization should make us lenient toward the Indian. The wrong inflicted upon him should be takeninto account and the balance placed to his credit. The moral view of the question should be consideredand the question asked, Can not the Indian be made a useful and productive member of society by properteaching and treatment? If the effort is made in good faith, we will stand better before the civilizednations of the earth and in our own consciences for having made it. Vocabulary aborigines: native inhabitantsSource: http://avalon.law.yale.edu/19th_century/grant2.asp
Document 3Settlers in the west often wondered if they would encounter NativeAmericans, and if so, what would be the nature of those encounters.…you wanted to know about the Indians if they were troublesome where we are going to settle I can tellyou they are not for we will not be living on the trail they pass along when they go hunting and they arenot troublesome anyway till they get out farther on the frontier than my homestead there was a party ofthem camped for a few days at Sutton this winter as they were going on a hunt but botherd no one as Ican learn.….as to Indians there is no more danger here in this locality than there is at your fathers for they neverpass nearer than six miles of here on their hunting trips & when they get this far into settlements they areafraid to bother any one. beside it is only those living on reservations east of here that ever pass this waythe wild Indians is not nearer than 150 mi west of here. Vocabulary frontier: area not settled by whites homestead: land purchased by settlersSource: Excerpts from Letter from Uriah W. Oblinger to Mattie V. Oblinger and EllaOblinger, January 19, 1873 and Letter from Uriah W. Oblinger to Mattie V. Oblinger, EllaOblinger, February 9, 1873 http://memory.loc.gov/cgi-bin/query/D?psbib:1:./temp/~ammem_R9rt::
Document 4At the end of the century, many essays were written to explain the causes,results, and effects of the settlement of the western frontier. The western man believed in the manifest destiny of his country. On hisborder, and checking his advance, were the Indian, the Spaniard, and theEnglishman… Vocabulary Checking: halting, stoppingSource: Excerpt from Fredrick Jackson Turner “The Problem of the West”,p. 293, The Atlantic Monthly Volume 0078 Issue 467 (Sept 1896)http://digital.library.cornell.edu/cgi/t/text/pageviewer-idx?c=atla;cc=atla;idno=atla0078-3;node=atla0078-3%3A1;view=image;seq=299;size=100;page=root
Document 5There were many meetings between officials of the U.S government, oftenArmy officers, and the leaders of the various Native American groups, toresolve or end the cycles of violence that had ensued between NativeAmericans and white settlers.Source:http://cdm15330.contentdm.oclc.org/cdm/singleitem/collection/p15330coll22/id/33178
Document 6Geronimo, chief of the Apache, recounts the reasons for the Apache Wars.After about a year some trouble arose between them and the Indians, and I took the war path as a warrior, not asa chief. I had not been wronged, but some of my people bad been, and I fought with my tribe; for the soldiersand not the Indians were at fault. Not long after this some of the officers of the United States troops invited our leaders to hold a conference at Apache Pass (Fort Bowie). Just before noon the Indians were shown into a tent and told that they would be given something to eat. When in the tent they were attacked by soldiers. our chief, Mangus- Colorado, and several other warriors, by cutting through the tent, escaped; but most of the warriors were killed or captured. Among the Bedonkohe Apaches killed at this time were Sanza, Kladetahe, Niyokahe, and Gopi. After this treachery the Indians went back to the mountains and left the fort entirely alone. I do not think that the agent had anything to do with planning this, for he had always treated us well. I believe it was entirely planned by the soldiers. From the very first the soldiers sent out to our western country, and the officers in charge of them, did not hesitate to wrong the Indians. They never explained to the Government when an Indian was wronged, but always reported the misdeeds of the Indians. Much that was done by mean white men was reported at Washington as the deeds of my people.Vocabularytreachery: action that betrays trust or violates goodwillSource: http://odur.let.rug.nl/~usa/B/geronimo/geroni12.htm
Document 7The Fort Laramie Treaty, signed by U.S. Army officials and representativesof several bands of Sioux in 1868, was supposed to set the stage forpeaceful relations between white settlers and Native Americans in thenorthern Great Plains region.ARTICLE I.From this day forward all war between the parties to this agreement shall for ever cease. The government of theUnited States desires peace, and its honor is hereby pledged to keep it. The Indians desire peace, and they nowpledge their honor to maintain it.If bad men among the whites, or among other people subject to the authority of the United States, shall commitany wrong upon the person or property of the Indians, the United States will, upon proof made to the agent, andforwarded to the Commissioner of Indian Affairs at Washington city, proceed at once to cause the offender tobe arrested and punished according to the laws of the United States, and also reimburse the injured person forthe loss sustained.If bad men among the Indians shall commit a wrong or depredation upon the person or property of nay one,white, black, or Indian, subject to the authority of the United States, and at peace therewith, the Indians hereinnamed solemnly agree that they will, upon proof made to their agent, and notice by him, deliver up thewrongdoer to the United States, to be tried and punished according to its laws, and, in case they willfully refuseso to do, the person injured shall be reimbursed for his loss from the annuities, or other moneys due or tobecome due to them under this or other treaties made with the United States; and the President, on advising withthe Commissioner of Indian Affairs, shall prescribe such rules and regulations for ascertaining damages underthe provisions of this article as in his judgment may be proper, but no one sustaining loss while violating theprovisions of this treaty, or the laws of the United States, shall be reimbursed therefor.Vocabularymaintain: keepreimburse: repaydepredation: theft, act that deprives ofSource:http://www.pbs.org/weta/thewest/resources/archives/four/ftlaram.htm
Document 8Chief Joseph, the last leader of the Nez Perce, recounts the history ofinteraction between his people and the white settlers who increasingly cameto occupy his ancestral homelandThe first white men of your people who came to our country were named Lewis and Clark. They brought manythings which our people had never seen. They talked straight and our people gave them a great feast as proofthat their hearts were friendly. They made presents to our chiefs and our people made presents to them. We hada great many horses of which we gave them what they needed, and they gave us guns and tobacco in return. Allthe Nez Perce made friends with Lewis and Clark and agreed to let them pass through their country and never tomake war on white men. This promise the Nez Perce have never broken. II.For a short time we lived quietly. But this could not last. White men had found gold in the mountains around theland of the Winding Water. They stole a great many horses from us and we could not get them back because wewere Indians. The white men told lies for each other. They drove off a great many of our cattle. Some whitemen branded our young cattle so they could claim them. We had no friends who would plead our cause beforethe law councils. It seemed to me that some of the white men in Wallowa were doing these things on purpose toget up a war. They knew we were not strong enough to fight them. I labored hard to avoid trouble andbloodshed. We gave up some of our country to the white men, thinking that then we could have peace. We weremistaken. The white men would not let us alone. We could have avenged our wrongs many times, but we didnot. Whenever the Government has asked for help against other Indians we have never refused. When the whitemen were few and we were strong we could have killed them off, but the Nez Perce wishes to live at peace.On account of the treaty made by the other bands of the Nez Perce the white man claimed my lands. We weretroubled with white men crowding over the line. Some of them were good men, and we lived on peaceful termswith them, but they were not all good. Nearly every year the agent came over from Lapwai and ordered us to thereservation. We always replied that we were satisfied to live in Wallowa. We were careful to refuse the presentsor annuities which he offered.Through all the years since the white man came to Wallowa we have been threatened and taunted by them andthe treaty Nez Perce. They have given us no rest. We have had a few good friends among the white men, andthey have always advised my people to bear these taunts without fighting. Our young men are quick temperedand I have had great trouble in keeping them from doing rash things. I have carried a heavy load on my backever since I was a boy. I learned then that we were but few while the white men were many, and that we couldnot hold our own with them. We were like deer. They were like grizzly bears. We had a small country. Theircountry was large. We were contented to let things remain as the Great Spirit Chief made them. They were not;and would change the mountains and rivers if they did not suit them.Source:http://www.pbs.org/weta/thewest/resources/archives/six/jospeak.htmSome of the language and phrasing in these documents have been modified from the originals.
CAPTURE SHEET Don’t forget the rules of a successful academic controversy! 1. Practice active listening. 2. Challenge ideas, not each other Were the Indian Wars of the late 1800’s inevitable? 3. Try your best to understand the other positions 4. Share the floor: each person in a pair MUST have an opportunity to speakPreparation: 5. No disagreeing until consensus- building as a group of four 1. Highlight your assigned position. Yes: The Indian Wars were bound to happen. No: The Indian Wars could have been prevented and/or avoided.. 2. Read through each document searching for support for your side’s argument. Use the documents to fill in the chart (Hint: Not all documents support your side, find those that do):Document What is the main idea of this document? What details support your position? # 3. Work with your partner to summarize your arguments for your position using the supporting documents you found above:
Position Presentation: 4. You and your partner will present your position to your opposing group members. When you are done, you will then listen to your opponents’ position. While you are listening to your opponents’ presentation, write down the main details that they present here: Clarifying questions I have for the opposing partners: How they answered the questions:Consensus Building: 5. Put your assigned roles aside. Where does your group stand on the question? Where does your group agree? Where does your group disagree? Your consensus answer does not have to be strictly yes, or no. We agree: We disagree: Our final consensus: