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Priscella Lindberg

Current Issues in Indian Country:

The Legacies of the Age of Exploration

Lesson Plan by Priscilla Lindberg

Grade 9


One way to understand The Age of Exploration is to study its impact on our lives and communities today. This project presents four current issues facing communities of Native Americans and other stakeholders seeking to determine the rights to land and natural resources that are important to all of us.

The issues include the following:

  1. Makah: Should the Makah Tribe be allowed to respect and revive ancient traditions by hunting gray whales?
  1. Duwamish: Should the Duwamish peoples be granted federal tribal recognition?
  1. Fracking: Should the Blackfeet Tribe of Montana be allowed to limit hydraulic fracturing (fracking) on their reservation?
  1. Oak Flat: Should the United States government have the authority to allow a copper mine to open its operations in Oak Flat, a sacred site for the San Carlos Apache?

Your responsibility as a group will be to research and present the opinions and arguments of native and non-native interests about one of these issues. You are not expected to take a side on this issue in your group presentation. Rather, you are expected to present the arguments, beliefs and rationale that make this issue so difficult and emotional for those involved.


  • In groups of 4, choose one issue. As a group, read all assigned articles pertaining to your issue. There are about 12 articles for each topic. You may find these articles on Priscilla’s Teacher Page and they are tagged appropriately.
  • Understand the Key Terms and Questions related to your issue (provided on separate paper). It is expected you will be able to articulate this understanding in your final presentation.
  • Create a digital presentation using Sway that includes the following:
  • Controversy: Both (or all) sides of the controversy. Summarize each position in BULLET POINTS and aim to be concise but clear. You must ensure that your summary includes clear use of the Key Terms listed on your particular assignment sheet. Correct use of the Terms in your summary will show your teacher that you thoroughly understand your topic. Be sure you understand which native group is being affected by this issue and make this clear.
  • Map: your presentation must include a map of the controversy in question, because, don’t forget, all these issues are rooted in a conflict over land, place and resources between native and non-natives, and is a direct legacy of The Age of Exploration. Please consult your terms list to ensure you understand what areas to feature in your map.
  • Annotated Bibliography: Write an annotated bibliography of your sources. Each team should divide up the documents relating to your topic and each student should write an annotation for each of the 3-4 sources s/he is responsible for. Each annotation is about a paragraph long. Don’t make it too long or too short. Your annotation must examine the following:
  • Citation: Title, author, publication, date of publication.
  • Medium: What is this document? Examples: news article, editorial, government published info pamphlet, etc.
  • Purpose of document: is it to educate, report, or convince audience of a particular point of view?
  • Bias: Considering the purpose of the document, what bias do you detect? Is the writer sympathetic to one side or another? How do you know? Examine language and examples used in the document.
  • Position: if relevant, what outcome of the controversy does the writer expect or desire? (Not every doc you read will take a position)
  • Finally, to be turned in individually to your teacher on separate paper, not on Sway, each student will write their own personal position statement. Having done all this research to understand your topic, where do you personally stand on this issue? What convinced you one way or another? How is this issue a legacy of the Age of Exploration? Please write specifically and feel free to share whatever position you like. Be sure your ideas are rooted in evidence. 1-2 typed pages.

Grade will be based on the following:

  1. Effort in creating Sway presentation and collaboration with team.
  2. Position of all sides to the controversy is clear.
  3. Map of area(s) and other relevant visuals.
  4. Annotated Bibliography for each source for which you are responsible.
  5. Facilitation of presenting your project to your classmates (to be determined by your section teacher).
  6. Personal position paper of 1-2 pages, to be turned in at the end, separate from Sway.