Students watch a video about the history of Fort Union and learn about its reconstruction. Students write a letter to the school principal explaining why it would be important for the class to take a trip to Fort Union.
This lesson is part of "Great States: North Dakota | Unit 4: Early Exploration" - an examination of the factors that drew people to explore North Dakota and how these early visitors impacted American Indians.
4.2.7: Explain the significance of fur trading in North Dakota
- Video: Prairie Places | Fort Union
- An interactive whiteboard, projector, or other type of screen to project videos to the class
- Class set of Fort Union Field Trip handout
- Tell students they will be watching a short video about Fort Union, which today is a reconstruction of a fur trading post from the early 1800s. Remind students that they should take note of why Fort Union was important to trading in North Dakota.
- Play the video, Prairie Places | Fort Union [2:50].
- Discuss some of the points in the video in regards to a) why was the Fort established as a historical site, b) what was included in the reconstruction, c) which American Indian tribes used the post for trade, and d) what common goods were traded in addition to furs.
- Provide students with the Fort Union Field Trip handout.
The following are examples of why fur trading was important and reasons for the students to visit Fort Union to see this first hand:
- Fur trading established good relations with the Indians
- Provided furs and skins for settlers and back east
- Outlet for guns, whiskey, blankets, kettles, steel arrow heads, and beads
- Key place in North Dakota where settlers and Indians interacted peacefully and traded with one another
- Fort Union represents a key historical time for North Dakota as traders and settlers began to populate the state