Native Americans of the West – Boarding Schools, the Dawes Act, Wounded Knee


Embark on a captivating journey to the late 1800s American West with your students. Explore the world of Sioux Native Americans and their allies through thrilling and devastating events like the Battle of Little Bighorn and the Ghost Dance. Engage students with Peacefield History’s interactive classroom and digital presentations.

Pages: 55 slides + 10 pages

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In this lesson, students will learn about the major events involving Native Americans in the west in the late 1800s. This topic is vast and multifaceted. Therefore, I decided to focus this lesson specifically on the Sioux Native Americans and those tribes that were allied with the Sioux. Teachers may choose to incorporate this lesson with A Cheyenne Odyssey – a free online Mission-US game – however, this lesson can be utilized with or without gameplay. Lesson plans are provided for both options. You can preview the lesson plan here – PREVIEW – Native Americans of the West

Topics include: the Dakota Uprising, the Sand Creek Massacre, the Bozeman Trail, the impact of the railroads, the Fort Laramie Treaty of 1868, the Battle of Little Bighorn, the Dawes Act, the Ghost Dance, and the Wounded Knee Massacre.

Included in this resource:

  • Classroom Presentation – Made to be utilized in an in-class situation with students. A PowerPoint version is included in the file and the Google Slides version is provided with the link.
  • Digital Presentation – This version has the questions embedded in the presentation and it can be assigned in Google Classroom or made compatible with Pear Deck.
  • Handout for Students – Printable version that is made to coordinate with the classroom presentation – (PDF, Google Slides link, and PowerPoint)
  • Lesson Plan for implementation

This lesson is tied with the following NYS Standards:

8.3a.1 – Students will examine the effects of the transcontinental railroad on the movement toward westward expansion.

8.3a.2 – Students will examine examples of Native American resistance to the western encroachment, including the Sioux Wars and the flight and surrender of Chief Joseph and the Nez Perce.

8.3a.3 – Students will examine United States and New York State policies toward Native Americans, such as the displacement of Native Americans from traditional lands, creation of reservations, efforts to assimilate Native Americans through the creation of boarding schools, the Dawes Act, and the Indian Reorganization Act and the Native Americans’ various responses to these policies.

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