Students watch a video about the importance of horses and items with which the Nez Perce bartered. They learn why the Nez Perce liked blue beads and other cultural information. Students answer questions related to the Nez Perce.
This lesson is part of "Great States: Oregon | Unit 3: Native Peoples." In this unit, students explore the cultures of Oregon’s Native Peoples population, as well as the interactions of Native groups with others who have come to Oregon.
4.1: Identify and describe historic Native American Indian groups that lived in Oregon prior to contact with Europeans and at the time of early European exploration, including ways these groups adapted to and interacted with the physical environment.
- Video: Moments in Time: The Horses of the Nez Perce
- An interactive whiteboard, projector, or another type of screen to show videos to the class
- Class set of the Trading with the Nez Perce handout
Explain that from 1804–1806, Meriwether Lewis and William Clark were commissioned by President Jefferson to explore the land acquired in the Louisiana Purchase and find westward water routes to the Pacific Ocean. Tell students this mission was called the Corps of Discovery, and Lewis and Clark kept journals of their findings and noted interactions with Native Peoples.
Tell students they will be watching a video to learn about the Nez Perce Native Peoples, who once lived in the northeast corner of Oregon, and the items they found valuable. Distribute the Trading with the Nez Perce handout and instruct students to take notes.
Play the video, Moments in Time: The Horses of the Nez Perce. [1:06]
Have students answer the questions on the handout.
The Corps and Nez Perce found items to trade that were of use to both parties. Ask students, “What kinds of things would you trade with your classmates today?”
Native Peoples had many horses; one person might own 50–60 horses [0:27].
They preferred items of utility such as knives, tools, and blue beads [0:42].
Answers will vary, but may have to do with the amount of work taking care of the horses might be or how valuable the horses could be [0:27].
Answers will vary, such as baseball and cartoon cards, toys, games, etc.