Sunday, October 28, 2007

Takaki 9: Teaching about Indian removal and the Dawes Act

After students have a brief summary on the “Indian Question” they will have some background on the Indian removal acts of the late 19th century and especially the impact of the Dawes Allotment Act. To use a new method of teaching this week I will try to use popular music as a bridge to the understanding of what happened to the Native Americans in this period, and the real life impact it had on their lives and the future of their tribes.

I will use the song “Don’t Drink the Water” by the Dave Matthews Band. The Dave Matthews Band is pretty popular amongst young people, so it could show students that someone who is very popular today is still concerned about what happened to the Native Americans over a century ago. Students will be given a copy of the lyrics to the song and then will be asked to work (either in groups or on their own) to interpret the lyrics and write in the margins what they think he means with the lyrics and how it relates to what they learned about Indian removal from their text. This will be a good bridge into a larger lesson/ unit on the impact of Westward expansion, the elimination of the frontier, and it’s impact on Native Americans and their heritage.

The lyrics to the song can be found here.

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