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Vermilion Parish Schools
Activity 9: Negotiating Past and Present Foreign Policies (GLE: 37)

Materials List:  computer/Internet (optional), poster paper

Ask students to research the history of American government policies toward Native Americans between 1800 and 1850, and create a poster to demonstrate some of the struggles and conflicts with which the Native Americans were faced.  Ask students to discuss Indian policies and actions during their previously assigned time periods (e.g., 1789–1810, 1811–1820, 1821–1830, 1831–1840, and 1841–1850). Guide class discussion to explain the following:

  • How and why did the policy change over the years? 

  • Why were Native Americans considered nations capable of negotiating treaties with the sovereign United States? 

  • What was the impact of the Trail of Tears?

  • How did Native Americans resist encroachment by the Americans (e.g., war, negotiations, and withdrawal from American settlements)?

Use the textbook or the following website to answer questions related to Native Americans and the Trail of Tears.

Using SPAWN writing (view literacy strategy descriptions), have students develop an essay which reflects upon a Native American faced with the loss of his/her tribe and land.  Students should take the position as the Native American himself or herself and describe how life changed during that time.

Description of SPAWN related to this activity is as follows:

SPAWN writing is informal writing which categorizes writing options such as (Special Powers, Problem Solving, Alternative Viewpoints, What If? And Next) For this activity only Problem Solving and Alternative Viewpoints will be addressed.  The teacher should only be identifying these two areas for an informal assessment of class progress.  Below are suggested prompts for the activity:

  • Policy changes brought about a great adjustment for my country. I feel our country would have benefitted more if…..

  • As a Native American, negotiations were….

  • I traveled hundreds of miles on the Trail of Tears. This is my story…..

  • Our land was taken. Life now is ….

Students should share their writing with the class or in small groups. 

Background Information

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