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Discussion Questions

  1. What were some of the reasons that the state of Georgia wanted the Cherokee to leave?
  2. How did the Cherokee feel about leaving their homeland?
  3. Did the federal government have the right to force the Cherokee to leave?
  4. What do you think of John Ross' letter to the United States Congress reminding them of the memorable declaration that “all men are created equal”? Were the Cherokee people being treated as equals?
  5. What do you think of Ross’ argument in light of the fact that he owned slaves?
  6. Why did Major Ridge decide that Removal was the best course for the Cherokee people?
  7. Do you think Ridge was a traitor to his people for signing the Treaty of New Echota?
  8. Some members of Congress opposed the Indian Removal Act and the ratification of the Treaty of New Echota. If you had been a member of Congress opposed to these actions, what arguments would you have made?
  9. What do you think life was like along the Trail of Tears?
  10. Although the United States was founded on the principles of liberty and justice, it has taken many years and many struggles to make progress toward extending the blessings of liberty and justice to all who live in the United States. The Trail of Tears was a huge injustice done to the Cherokee people. What other groups have suffered injustices? What steps have been taken to right these injustices?
social

Show the video segment and have students read the Background Essay. As a class or in groups discuss some or all of the discussion questions. If in groups, have each group share its answers. As a class create a timeline of the events leading up to the forced removal of the Cherokee. Illustrate the timeline with images of documents and paintings and quotes. Create a parallel timeline showing what else was going on in the United States and the world at the time. The timeline may be a classroom display or a digital timeline.

Standards:

SS-8-GC-S-5—Students will analyze information from a variety of print and non-print sources (e.g., books, documents, articles, interviews, Internet) to research answers to questions and explore issues.

SS-8-GC-S-2—Students will investigate the Constitution of the United States:

  1. examine ways the Constitution is a document that can be changed from time to time through both formal and informal processes (e.g., amendments, court cases, executive actions) to meet the needs of its citizens
  2. explain the political process established by the U.S. Constitution and ways the Constitution separates power among the legislative, executive and judicial branches to prevent the concentration of political power and to establish a system of checks and balances
  3. analyze why the powers of the state and federal governments are sometimes shared and sometimes separated (federalism).

SS-8-GC-U-3—Students will understand that the fundamental values and principles (e.g., liberty, justice, individual human dignity, the rule of law) of American representative democracy as expressed in historical documents (e.g., the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution of the United States) are enduring and remain significant today.

SS-8-CS-S-1—Students will demonstrate an understanding (e.g., speak, draw, write, sing, create) of the nature of culture by exploring cultural elements (e.g., beliefs, customs/traditions, languages, skills, literature, the arts) of diverse groups in the United States prior to Reconstruction and explain how culture served to define specific groups and resulted in unique perspectives.

SS-8-CS-S-2—Students will investigate social institutions (e.g., family, religion, education, government, economy) in relation to how they responded to human needs, structured society and influenced behavior in the United States prior to Reconstruction.

SS-8-CS-S-3—Students will explain how communications between groups were influenced by cultural differences; explain how interactions influenced conflict and competition (e.g., political, economic, religious, ethnic) among individuals and groups in the United States prior to Reconstruction.

SS-8-CS-S-4—Students will describe conflicts between individuals or groups and explain how compromise and cooperation were possible choices to resolve conflict among individuals and groups in the United States prior to Reconstruction

SS-8-E-S-1—Students will demonstrate an understanding of the nature of limited resources and scarcity in the United States prior to Reconstruction, using information from a variety of print and non-print sources (e.g., news media, news magazines, textbook, Internet):

  1. analyze cause-effect relationships among financial decisions by individuals and groups and historical events

SS-8-G-S-3—Students will investigate interactions among human activities and the physical environment in the United States prior to Reconstruction:

  1. explain how people used technology to modify the physical environment to meet their needs describe how the physical environment and different viewpoints promoted or restricted human activities (e.g., exploration, migration, trade, settlement, development) and land use.

SS-8-HP-S-1—Students will demonstrate an understanding of the interpretative nature of history using a variety of tools and resources (e.g., primary and secondary sources, Internet, timelines, maps):

  1. investigate, describe and analyze significant historical events and conditions in the U.S prior to Reconstruction, drawing inferences about perspectives of different individuals and groups (e.g., gender, race, region, ethnic group, age, economic status, religion, political group)
  2. examine multiple cause-effect relationships that have shaped history (e.g., showing how a series of events are connected).

SS-8-HP-S-2—Students will investigate, using primary and secondary sources (e.g., biographies, films, magazines, Internet resources, textbooks, artifacts) to answer questions about, locate examples of, or interpret factual and fictional accounts of major historical events and people:

  1. analyze how exploration and the settlement of America caused diverse cultures to interact in various forms (e.g., compromise, cooperation, conflict, competition); explain how governments expanded their territories and the impact this had on the United States prior to Reconstruction.
writing

Have students read and discuss excerpts from the journal of Rev. Daniel Butrick, available online at the Association for Core Texts and Courses web site.

Show the video segment and allow students to use web links to learn more about the Kentucky sites. Ask students to imagine that they are on the Trail of Tears as a Cherokee young person leaving their homeland. Ask them to write a journal entry describing one or several days on the Trail, including a stop at one of the sites.

Extension: If possible, take your students on a field trip to one of the sites. Have them write journal entries comparing their experience with the imagined experiences of the Cherokee on the Trail of Tears.

Standards:

EL-8-DIU-U-1—Students will understand that reading a wide range of print and non-print texts builds an understanding of texts, of themselves, and of different cultures.

EL-8-WC-S-2—Students will write to demonstrate learning and understanding of content knowledge (e.g., journals, open responses, lab reports, research reports).

arts

Show students the video segment (and, if possible, the segment from Kentucky’s National Parks about the Trail of Tears). Have them read excerpts from the journal of Rev. Daniel Butrick, available online at the Association for Core Texts and Courses web site.

Show students several artistic interpretations of the Trail of Tears experience. Lead a discussion about the power of art to evoke emotions. Ask student to identify how the artists have used details and the elements of art to create an atmosphere of despair. Ask students to create works of art illustrating the Trail of Tears or another historic event that you have studied.

Extension: Have students work together to create a Trail of Tears mural.

Online Images:

Painting from Andrew Jackson Facts web site

Painting at University of Maine Farmington web site

Painting at Guthrie Studios web site

Image of Trail of Tears signage

“Dawn” painting at Cherokee Indian Art web site

“Grave” painting at Cherokee Indian Art web site

Standards:

Grade 8 Skills and Concepts - Visual Arts

AH-8-PCA-S-VA1—Students will compare and explain purposes for which visual art is created (ceremonial, artistic expression, narrative, functional, persuasive).

AH-8-PCA-S-VA2—Students will create new, choose and experience artworks created to fulfill a variety of specific purposes. Grade 8 Enduring Knowledge – Understandings

AH-8-PCA-U-1—Students will understand that the arts fulfill a variety of purposes in society (e.g., to present issues and ideas, to entertain, to teach or persuade, to design, plan and beautify).

AH-8-PCA-U-2—Students will understand that the arts have value and significance for daily life. They provide personal fulfillment, whether in vocational settings, avocational pursuits, or leisure.

AH-8-PCA-U-3—Students will understand that the arts provide forms of nonverbal communication that can strengthen the presentation of ideas and emotions.

multidisciplinary

Explain to the class that the Cherokee were not the only tribe affected by the Indian Removal Act. The act required that all tribes living east of the Mississippi move to the Indian Territory in present-day Oklahoma. Five tribes in the southeast, referred to as the “civilized tribes” because they had adopted some aspects of white culture, were the most deeply affected by this policy. The Cherokee Removal is the best known story, but the Choctaw, Chickasaw, Seminole, and the Muskogee (Creek) nations also experienced removal.

Divide the class into four teams. Each team will research the history and current status of one of the four tribes. Give students a list of what must be included in each team’s report or presentation. Content could include:

  • history, homeland and culture prior to the arrival of Europeans
  • interactions with Europeans and other tribes prior to Removal
  • experiences during Removal and any resistance efforts
  • current population, governmental structure, and territory

Note: In most instances, the tribes were divided by Removal and some group remained behind. Research should include the history of both the groups that remained and the groups that were relocated to Oklahoma.

Allow students to choose from a variety of presentation formats, e.g., written, oral, PowerPoint presentation.

Extension: Compile the results of the team research projects into a resource that can be shared others through web publication or other means

Helpful web sites:

Standards:

EL-8-DIU-U-1—Students will understand that reading a wide range of print and non-print texts builds an understanding of texts, of themselves, and of different cultures.

EL-8-DIU-S-4—Students will paraphrase and summarize information from texts of various lengths.

EL-8-IT-U-2—Students will understand that references from texts provide evidence to support conclusions drawn about the message, the information presented, or the author’s perspective.

EL-8-DCS-U-5—Students will understand that judging the credibility of sources, evaluating arguments, and understanding and conveying information are essential skills needed for postsecondary education, the workplace, and in exercising the rights of citizenship.

EL-8-WC-S-2—Students will write to demonstrate learning and understanding of content knowledge (e.g., journals, open responses, lab reports, research reports).

EL-8-WV-S-7—Students will document ideas used from outside sources (e.g., citing authors or titles within the text; citing print and non-print sources) when paraphrasing, summarizing, quoting or using graphics.

T-MS-RIPSI-S-R4—Students will evaluate the accuracy and appropriateness of electronic information.

T-MS-RIPSI-S-R2—Students will apply a research process model (e.g., Big6, Research Cycle) to conduct online research.

T-MS-RIPSI-S-R3—Students will locate and collect information from a variety of electronic resources (e.g. search engines, CDROM, online periodical databases, Virtual library/online catalogs, interactive video conferencing) and correctly cite sources.

T-MS-RIPSI-S-R5—Students will communicate results of research and learning with others using the most appropriate tools (e.g., desktop-published or word-processed report, multimedia presentation).

T-MS-SESI-U-1—Students will understand that collaborative and interactive projects use technology to enhance learning.

SS-8-CS-S-4—Students will describe conflicts between individuals or groups and explain how compromise and cooperation were possible choices to resolve conflict among individuals and groups in the United States prior to Reconstruction.

SS-8-CS-S-1—Students will demonstrate an understanding (e.g., speak, draw, write, sing, create) of the nature of culture by exploring cultural elements (e.g., beliefs, customs/traditions, languages, skills, literature, the arts) of diverse groups in the United States prior to Reconstruction and explain how culture served to define specific groups and resulted in unique perspectives

 

Other Online Lesson Plans:

  • The National Park Service web site includes a lesson based on the Trail of Tears and the forced removal of the Cherokee Nation as part of its “Teaching with Historic Places” program. The lesson includes expanded readings on the topic, maps, excerpts from speeches and treaties, and photos of national historic landmarks.
  • An excellent lesson plan that makes use of primary resources and uses the strategy of having students role play historic figures with differing perspectives on the issue of Cherokee Removal is found at the Lincoln Digital Library web site.

 

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