The Lewis and Clark Expedition of 1804–1806 was of great consequence for the developing United States, the future state of Oregon, and the Native American people who had been living in the American West for thousands of years. The passage of time, mythmaking, and selective interpretation have obscured or distorted both minor and major realities about the purposes of the expedition, the people involved, and its impact. As is said, every story has (at least) two sides, and until recently the Native American point of view has rarely been heard. In this lesson, students will learn about primary and secondary sources, as well as point of viewand bias and the impact they can have on the intention behind the recording and retelling ofhistory.
This lesson is an adaptation of a history lesson designed by the National Endowment for the Humanities. The focus of the lesson is on comparing and contrasting primary sources describing the Great Chicago Fire of 1871 in order to teach students methods for evaluating historical sources. The historical content has been paired with English proficiency standards to help support students comprehension of challenging historical documents. It is designed for high school, but with some adaptation could be used in an 8th grade classroom. The lessons are designed to support Intermediate to Advanced (ELP 3-5) language learners, although students with Beginning proficiency (ELP 1-2) would find some success with this as well. Students compare two newspaper reports on the fire and two memoirs of the fire written many decades later, with an eye on how these accounts complement and compete with one another, and how these sources can be used to draw historical meaning from them.
Grade Level: Middle - High SchoolLength of Lesson: Two 90 minute block periods, Four 50-55 minute block periodsEssential QuestionsIn what ways do “single stories” impact our own identities, how we view others, and the choices we make?How do stereotypes influence how we view and treat others?How, when, and why do stereotyping and scapegoating escalate to discrimination, prejudice, and violence?What are different ways people can combat stereotypes and scapegoating?
This lesson asks students to examine the concept of cultural appropriation and the impact that contemporary acts of cultural appropriation may have on Native Americans in Oregon and across the country. Students will participate in two activities. First, they will engage in a whole-class discussion about cultural appropriation, led by the teacher using the accompanying PowerPoint presentation. The presentation shows several contemporary examples of how Native culture has been generalized and appropriated by media and advertising. Second, students will engage in structured academic controversy—an instructional strategy that requires them to argue one side of an issue, then change sides and argue the opposing view. The background section of this lesson offers a brief of overview of how Native American cultures have been appropriated by the media, advertising, entertainers, artists, writers, and others. The following definition of cultural appropriation may be useful for both teachers and students: Cultural appropriation is the adoption of the elements of another culture (often a minority group) by members of the dominant culture. It is an unequal exchange in that the appropriators often uses these stolen elements for monetary gain or prestige, without regard for the value, respect, or importance paid to these images and traditions in the original culture.
News Literacy Project is a nonpartisan national education nonprofit, that provides programs and resources for educators and the public to teach, learn and share the abilities needed to be smart, active consumers of news and information and equal and engaged participants in a democracy.