Students watch a video about homesteaders taking American Indian land. They learn the history of the Dawes Act, and answer the questions about how the Act affected people in Montana.
This lesson is part of "Great States: Montana | Unit 5: European Settlement" where students will evaluate the conditions that made Montana a destination for settlement.
4.7: Explain the history, culture, and current status of the American Indian tribes in Montana and the United States.
Helena District 4.7: Develop an awareness of the cultural values and customs (past and present of Montana’s Indian tribes and how geographical locations and natural resources affected their way of living).
- Video: Montana Mosaic: Indian Lands Become Homesteading Lands
- An interactive whiteboard, projector, or another type of screen to show videos to the class
- Class set of Montana Mosaic: Indian Lands Become Homesteading Lands Background Essay, found in Support Materials below the video
- Class set of the Dawes Act of 1887 handout
Before class, read and review the Background Essay, found in the Support Materials on the Montana Mosaic: Indian Lands Become Homesteading Lands video page.
In class, distribute the Background Essay to students, which can be printed from the video page. Have students read the first two paragraphs of, “Settlers Used the Land in a New Way,” and the entirety of, “Allotments Bring Homesteading to the Reservations.”
Distribute the Dawes Act of 1887 handout to students. Tell students they will be watching a video about the Dawes Act, and to pay attention to how the Act affected the people in Montana.
Play the video, Montana Mosaic: Indian Lands Become Homesteading Lands. [1:44]
Have students answer the questions on the Dawes Act handout.
The Dawes Act, passed by Congress in 1887, was an attempt to free up more land for homesteaders, and force American Indians to give up their nomadic ways and become landowners and farmers. [Background Essay]
It allowed the government to divide up American Indian land into plots that were to be individually owned, not communally or by the American Indian nations. [1:00]
The cutting up of the land frequently divided American Indian nations, limited access to hunting grounds, and sometimes to sources of water. [1:18 and Background Essay]