As a result of this lesson, students will be able to understand the connection between land and spirituality for Native Americans (specifically Sioux or Lakota/Dakota) and how this impacts economic decision-making.
2 class periods
- Students will be able to articulate the reasons why land is important to Native American (specifically Sioux or Lakota/Dakota people).
- Students will be able to articulate the pros and cons of using land as an economic resource.
- Students will understand the value of spirituality vested in land that has influences economic decision-making by Sioux Tribes.
- Episode #103 “Spirituality” of the Prairie Public Indian Pride series
- Copy of “Controversy and Spirituality in the Black Hills” in The Invasion of Indian Country in the Twentieth Century by Donald L. Fixico
- Medicine Wheel handout [see attached]
Begin the activity by assigning students to read the article “Controversy and Spirituality in the Black Hills” in The Invasion of Indian Country in the Twentieth Century by Donald L. Fixico. On the day of the activity, begin by showing the Prairie Public Indian Pride series video (episode #103: Spirituality).
After the video, introduce the concept of the Lakota/Dakota medicine wheel. The medicine wheel is a graphic illustration of the spiritual meanings of Native values, including the importance of the number four (as discussed in the video). The graphic is based on spiritual markers found across the northern plains and built by Native American tribes in the region. For background information on medicine wheels and their use, see http://solar- center.stanford.edu/AO/bighorn. The medicine wheel graphic consists of a circle with two intersecting lines inside. It represents the Native American concept of balance and reciprocity. In one teaching, the four quadrants of the medicine wheel graphic represent the four ways of knowing or aspects of self: physical, spiritual, mental and emotional.
Tell the students that they will use the medicine wheel graphic to discuss and answer a series of questions about the article. Divide the class into four groups and assign each group a quadrant on the medicine wheel handout to discuss and answer the questions.
After the groups have had ample time to discuss their findings and conclusions, ask each group to share their perspective. Do a final debriefing by having the entire class discuss how the four quadrants represent a different viewpoint that has its own implications for economic decision-making.