1. Introduce the activity.
Ask: What does the word homeland mean to you? Why might people have different ideas about its meaning? Invite volunteers to share their ideas about homeland. Then tell students they will look at maps and watch short video clips to analyze the history of land transfer and conflict between the Dutch and Native Americans in order to understand the groups’ different concepts of land rights and ideas about “homeland.”

2. Have students analyze the map of 17th century Dutch settlement.
Project the website The Hudson: The River That Defined America. Click on “Dutch Settlement” on the left side of the screen. Have students look at the map. Ask students to take turns reading aloud the text accompanying the purple markers on the map. If significant background knowledge is needed, have students also read the paragraphs on the left side of the screen. Then distribute the worksheet Hudson River: Land Rights and Conflict. Have students answer the first set of questions independently or in pairs. Use the provided answer key to discuss the answers as a class.

3. Have students watch the video clip “Land Transfers.”
Show students the video “Land Transfers.” Have students answer the second set of questions on the worksheet independently or in pairs. Use the provided answer key to discuss the answers as a class. Then ask:

  • How do you think the Native Americans felt when they realized the differences in their beliefs and Europeans’ beliefs about land ownership?
  • Do you think that any one group should own land exclusively? What are some advantages and disadvantages of owning land?
  • Can you cite any modern-day examples of conflict over land ownership in the world?

4. Have students analyze the present-day map of the Hudson Valley region.
Click on “Today’s Hudson River” on the left side of the screen. Have students look at the map. Invite volunteers to take turns reading aloud the paragraphs on the left side of the screen. Have students answer the final set of questions on the worksheet independently or in pairs. Use the provided answer key to discuss the answers as a class. Then ask:

  • How do you think Native Americans felt about being forced to leave the Hudson Valley and having to move to other areas of the country?
  • How would you feel about being displaced from your home?

5. Have a whole-class discussion about the video “Natives Returning Home.”

Show students the video “Natives Returning Home.” Ask:

  • Do the people of native ancestry interviewed in the video appear to feel connected to the Hudson region? What are some of the emotions they describe?
  • Do you feel connected to the Hudson River? How would you describe your feelings about the river?

Informal Assessment

Have groups orally explain what the Native Americans of the Hudson River Valley believed was happening when they transferred their land to the Dutch colonists.

Extending the Learning

Have students write a brief essay about the meaning of the terms native land or homeland. Encourage them to consider the following questions:

  • Does land have to be owned by a group or government for it to be a native land or homeland?
  • Does a person have to live in an area for it to be their native land?
  • Can multiple groups claim the same native land?

Subjects & Disciplines

Learning Objectives

Students will:

  • read maps and analyze video clips to draw conclusions about cultural interactions and roots of conflict in the Hudson River Valley
  • compare and contrast different cultural perspectives about land rights
  • make connections between historical conflicts over land rights and modern-day examples
  • reflect on personal connections to the natural environment and ideas about land rights

Teaching Approach

  • Learning-for-use

Teaching Methods

  • Discussions
  • Hands-on learning
  • Multimedia instruction
  • Reflection
  • Writing

Skills Summary

This activity targets the following skills:

Connections to National Standards, Principles, and Practices

National Geography Standards

  • Standard 1:  How to use maps and other geographic representations, geospatial technologies, and spatial thinking to understand and communicate information
  • Standard 13:  How the forces of cooperation and conflict among people influence the division and control of Earth's surface
  • Standard 17:  How to apply geography to interpret the past
  • Standard 6:  How culture and experience influence people's perceptions of places and regions

National Standards for History

What You’ll Need

Materials You Provide

  • Lined or ruled paper
  • Pencils
  • Pens

Required Technology

  • Internet Access: Required
  • Tech Setup: 1 computer per small group, Projector, Speakers
  • Plug-Ins: Flash

Physical Space

  • Classroom


  • Large-group instruction

Background Information

In the 1600s, Dutch settlers established the fort of New Amsterdam and the colony of New Netherland through a series of land transfer agreements with Native American communities. Different cultural beliefs about land rights resulted in conflict between the two groups and, ultimately, displacement of Native Americans from their homelands. By analyzing the roots of these conflicts, students make connections with modern-day conflicts and ideas about land rights.

Prior Knowledge

  • None

Recommended Prior Activities



a disagreement or fight, usually over ideas or procedures.


forced removal of something, often people or organisms, from their communities or original space.


a person's native country or region.

Hudson River

large waterway that flows in the U.S. state of New York.