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        Minnesota | Activity 4.5: An Alternative Seal

        Students watch a video about the history of government in Minnesota. Students explore and learn the meaning and symbolism behind the state seal. Students design a seal to represent American Indian values.

        Lesson Summary

        Students watch a video about the history of government in Minnesota. Students explore and learn the meaning and symbolism behind the state seal. Students design a seal to represent American Indian values.

        This lesson is part of "Great States: Minnesota | Unit 4: Treaties and Statehood" which focuses on how the enormous economic, political, and technological changes of the 19th century impacted the creation of the state of Minnesota.

        Time Allotment

        25 minutes

        Learning Objectives

        Standards: 

        6.1.4.6.1: Explain the relationship among the three branches of government: making laws by the legislative branch, implementing and enforcing laws by the executive branch, and interpreting laws by the judicial branch. 

        6.4.4.23.2: Identify the major Minnesota political figures, ideas and industries that have shaped or continue to shape Minnesota and the United States today. (The United States in a New Global Age: 1980–present) 

        6.1.5.10.1: Explain the concept of sovereignty and how treaty rights are exercised by the Anishinaabe and Dakota today. For example: Organization of tribal government, gaming rights, hunting and fishing rights

        Supplies

        • An interactive whiteboard, projector, or another type of screen to project videos to the class
        • Image: Minnesota State Seal
        • Video: Great States | Minnesota Government [2:39]
        • Notebooks or loose-leaf paper
        • Construction paper or blank paper
        • Coloring tools (pencils, markers, or crayons) 

        Directions

        1. Project an image of the Minnesota state seal and ask students to make educated guesses about the meaning of each symbol on the seal. Point out that a state’s seal shows a state’s history and cultural origins. Ask if they know the literal meaning of “L’etoile du Nord,” and why this is a suitable motto for Minnesota.



          [Source: Wikimedia Commons: Minnesota State Seal]

        2. Here are some of the elements and their meanings:
          • a) L’etoile du Nord – “the star of the North” (basis for state’s nickname “The North Star State”)
          • b) Sun – the flat plains covering much of the state
          • c) American Indian on horseback – great American Indian heritage
          • d) Mississippi River and St. Anthony’s Falls – importance of resources for trade and commerce
          • e) Three pine trees – state tree, as well as three pine regions in state (St. Croix, Mississippi, and Lake Superior)
          • f) Farmer, cultivated land, and plow – agriculture
          • g) Tree stump – timber industry
          • h) Spear, axe, rifle, horse, rifle – hunting and labor 

           Resource: Minnesota Secretary of State - State Seal

        3. Play the video, Great States | Minnesota Government [2:39]. Tell the students they will be designing a seal for the Dakota nation, so they should take notes on the experience of the Dakotas in Minnesota’s history, as well as what values and traditions the Dakota hold important. 



        4. Instruct students to create a seal that would be appropriate for the tribal government of the Dakotas. The seal should include at least three images and a motto that indicates an understanding of the history and current government of the Dakota nation.

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