Students watch a video about Sitting Bull and the importance of the Black Hills in the lives of the Lakota Indians. They learn about the struggles between the Lakota, the United States government, and the gold miners who flooded the region, leading up to the Battle of Little Bighorn.
This lesson is part of "Great States: Montana | Unit 7: Conflict" where students will learn about how building tensions led to violent combat between Montana’s American Indians and the US government.
4.4: Identify and describe famous people, important democratic values (e.g., democracy, freedom, justice) symbols (e.g., Montana and U.S. flags, state flower) and holidays, in the history of Montana, American Indian tribes, and the United States.
4.7: Explain the history, culture, and current status of the American Indian tribes in Montana and the United States.
6.3: Identify and describe ways families, groups, tribes, and communities influence the individual’s daily life and personal choices.
6.5: Identify examples of individual struggles and their influence and contributions (e.g., Sitting Bull, Louis Riel, Chief Plenty Coups, Evelyn Cameron, Helen Keller, Mohandas Gandhi, Rosa Parks).
An interactive whiteboard, projector, or another type of screen to show videos to the class
Class set of Take a Stand handout
Tell students they will be watching a video about Sitting Bull, a leader of the Lakota Sioux Nation. Explain that after a broken treaty, Sitting Bull led his people to victory against General Custer in the Battle of Little Bighorn. The victory was short-lived, as the United States struck back and decimated the American Indians, forcing Sitting Bull and his remaining people to retreat to Canada.
Distribute the Take a Stand handout. Instruct students to pay attention to the reasons some American Indians complied with living on a reservation, and the reasons why some resisted.
Play the video, Sitting Bull and the Lakotas’ Last Stand. [5:56]
Ask students to take a “stand”: Would they comply with US government rules and go where they are sent to live on a reservation, or would they join Sitting Bull’s resistance movement? Why? Have students select one side of the handout to explain their position. Instruct students to consider whether or not they would change their position if they had a young child, or were elderly or sick. Then, have students fill out the other side of the handout. What are the things that appealed to those who followed a path different than the one the students would have preferred?