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        North Dakota | Activity 9.4: The Lakota People and Sitting Bull

        Students learn about the Sioux Wars of the last half of the nineteenth century, and the factors that led to the near-removal of the Lakota Sioux in North Dakota. Students watch a video about Lakota Sioux leader, Sitting Bull and answer questions about him.

        Lesson Summary

        Students learn about the Sioux Wars of the last half of the nineteenth century, and the factors that led to the near-removal of the Lakota Sioux in North Dakota. Students watch a video about Lakota Sioux leader, Sitting Bull and answer questions about him.

        This lesson is part of “Great States | North Dakota | Unit 9: Cultural Contributors” which gives students the opportunity to investigate some of the people, places, traditions, and past events that make North Dakota unique.

        Time Allotment

        20 minutes

        Learning Objectives

        Standard: 

        4.2.5: Identify the contributions of prominent individuals (e.g., Teddy Roosevelt, La Vérendrye, Rough Rider Award winners) to North Dakota.

        Supplies

        Directions

        1. Explain to students that the Lakota Sioux Nation once lived all across the Great Plains. Through European exploration, settlement, and the discoveries of minerals such as gold, silver, and copper, the Nation’s lands shrank. The 1851 Fort Laramie Treaty limited American Indian lands across the Great Plains, and the lands were further reduced in the 1868 Fort Laramie Treaty. Lands were reduced so much in the 1868 Treaty, that most of what would become North Dakota was turned over to US government control.
        2. Explain that these events led to conflict. In the 1870s, the Lakota Sioux and Northern Cheyenne were involved in the Great Sioux War with the US government. Battles and negotiations took place across the Dakota, Wyoming, and Montana territories. The Lakota were once a large presence in North Dakota. These treaties and the war diminished those lands to a small section of the Standing Rock Reservation, which extends into southern ND.
        3. Tell students that they will be watching a video about Sitting Bull, the leader of the Lakota Sioux Nation. Explain that Sitting Bull led his forces to victory in the 1876 Battle of Little Bighorn (which took place in Montana Territory), also known as Custer's Last Stand. The victory was short-lived, however, as US forces quickly decimated the Indians and Sitting Bull was forced to retreat to Canada.
        4. Play the video, Sitting Bull | Spiritual Leader and Military Leader [3:49].
        5. As a class discussion, have students answer the following questions:
          1. What conflict were the Lakota Sioux and Northern Cheyenne fighting in during the 1870s?
          2. What was Sitting Bull’s role in the war?
          3. In which battles did Sitting Bull lead his people to victory?
          4. Who are some strong leaders students have seen in their own lives?

        Answer Key

        1. The Great Sioux War
        2. Leader of the Lakota Sioux. He stood against the US government and attempted to lead his people to Canada.
        3. Battles of the Rosebud and Little Bighorn
        4. Answers will vary.

        Activity 4 – Advanced Activity (8th Grade): Westward Expansion and the Lakota Peoples

        Students watch a video about Sitting Bull and the Lakota peoples. Students learn about how American Indians were affected by Western Expansion and then answer questions about the video.

        Learning Objectives

        Standards

        8.2.10: Analyze the rationale for western expansion and how it affected minorities (e.g. reservations, Indian Removal Act, treaties, Chinese Exclusion Act, Dawes Act, Manifest Destiny, Homestead Act).

        8.2.11: Explain the significance of key events and people in North Dakota and tribal history

        Time Allotment

        15 minutes

        Supplies

        • Video: 
        • An interactive whiteboard, projector, or other type of screen to project the video to the class
        • Class set of the Lakotas’ Last Stand handout

        Directions

        1. Follow steps 1-3 from the regular activity.
        2. Provide students with the Lakotas’ Last Stand handout. Tell students to take notes from the video about what occurred with Sitting Bull and the Sioux Indians.
        3. Play the video, Sitting Bull and the Lakotas’ Last Stand [5:56].
        4. Have students answer the questions on the handout.

        Answer Key

        1. The Black Hills were a holy place to the Sioux, it was also a place to hunt and live. [1:00]
        2. The Black Hills were given to the Sioux forever by the United States in exchange for the Indians to stop raiding settlements, live peacefully, and accept rations from the government. [1:24]
        3. In 1874, General Custer set out on an expedition to the Black Hills in a very public manner. Gold is discovered there. [2:03] One year later in 1875, more than 15,000 miners moved into the region. [2:53]
        4. The government offered $6 million for the Black Hills, but the Lakota turned them down [3:04]. Sitting Bull refused to negotiate with the US government, and he encouraged and recruited other Lakota people to do the same. Thousands of American Indians followed Sitting Bull’s lead and moved to the Little Bighorn Valley [3:24]. This was the last stand of the Lakota people [4:04].

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