In this lesson, students will write about several encounters between the expedition and various Native American groups from the viewpoint of an expedition member or one of the Indians. Students can see the large-format film Lewis and Clark: Great Journey West before or after the lesson.
Standard 6: "How culture and experience influence people's perceptions of places and regions"
Standard 10: "The characteristics, distribution, and complexity of Earth's cultural mosaics"
- Computer with Internet access
- Photocopies of the five-page student handout, Expedition Encounters (Download a free copy of Adobe Acrobat Reader to view this file.)
- Photocopies of the map "Lewis and Clark Expedition Routes and Control of Lands"
- Photocopies of the map "Lewis and Clark Expedition: Westward Route, Native Americans, and Forts"
- "Jefferson's Instructions to Lewis" (Excerpts)
- compare how encounters during the expedition may have been viewed by the expedition and by Native American groups; and
- understand that peoples' perceptions of places and of other people are based on their own culture and experience.
Acquiring Geographic Information
Organizing Geographic Information
Answering Geographic Questions
Analyzing Geographic Information
S u g g e s t e d P r o c e d u r e
Have students imagine they are part of the Lewis and Clark expedition, looking at an expansive, seemingly endless sea of prairie grass. How might they think about the following: "expedition," "the West," "wilderness," "uncharted territory"? How might someone from a Native American tribe have described those things?
Each encounter describes a situation and the place where it occurred. Journal entries describe the point of view of expedition members. (Explain that the apparent misspellings are the result of the way that Lewis and Clark spelled certain words when writing in the journals.) Because Native American history passed from generation to generation through storytellers, tell students they will need to use the information given to imagine what a Native American might have thought.
Divide each team into two groups. Have one group focus on the encounter from a Native American perspective; the other group from the perspective of someone in the expedition. Students can refer to a map during their discussions, either "Lewis and Clark Expedition Routes and Control of Lands" or "Lewis and Clark Expedition: Westward Route, Native Americans, and Forts."
After the small-group discussions, have each student write about the encounter from "their" point of view. (Remind students that people in the same group can have different perspectives.) Students should use descriptive language and describe geographic factors that may have affected the encounter. [Optional: Using the links below, students can find more journal excerpts and information about Native American tribes.]
What similar things might Native American tribes and the expedition have wanted? (Common needs or wants would have contributed to the success of the expedition.)
Have students work individually or in pairs to develop a "dialogue" poem (in which alternating lines of dialogue are written from two different perspectives) that describes an event or place.
Investigate Native American inter-tribal activities. How did tribes communicate and trade with each other? How and why did their opinions about Lewis and Clark vary?
- Examine photos showing various cultures. Describe how a child, an adult, a traveler, or a business executive might interpret or view each culture.
Lewis and Clark Education Center
Montana Lewis and Clark Bicentennial Site
National Geographic: Lewis & Clark
National Geographic: Photography
PBS: Lewis & ClarkThe Journals
PBS: Lewis & ClarkThe Native Americans
PBS: Lewis & ClarkThe Journey of the Corps of Discovery