Lesson Plan

Three Affiliated Tribes (TAT) History:  Post 1845 Mandan, Hidatsa and Arikara (MHA) and the Garrison Dam

Image of Hidatsa woman on a hilltop.
Image of Hidatsa woman on a hilltop.
Northwestern University Library, Edward S. Curtis

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Grade Level:
Fourth Grade-Eighth Grade
History, Language Arts, Reading, Writing
45-60 minutes
Group Size:
Up to 24
National/State Standards:
ND State Standards
Social Studies:
Fourth Grade
4.2.2, 4.2.3, 4.2.4, 4.2.5, 4.2.6, 4.2.7, 4.2.8, 4.2.9, 4.2.10, 4.2.11, 4.3.2, 4.5.1, 4.5.3, 4.5.4, 4.6.1, 4.6.2, 4.5.6

Eighth Grade
8.1.1 ,8.1.2 
1851 Treaty of Fort Laramie, General Allotment Act of 1887, Subsistence economy, commodities


Students will learn how the Treaty at Fort Laramie established a territory for the Mandan, Hidatsa and Arikara (MHA) and how that land base was reduced through the Allotment Act of 1887.  They will also gain understanding about how the Garrison Dam impacted the lives of the Three Affiliated Tribes (TAT) and forced them to relocate to what is now the Fort Berthold Reservation.


The student will be able to:
Compare and contrast two or more groups: Mandan, Hidatsa, and Arikara people and mainstream America and identify that all people have different perspectives of history.
Describe how time and place are important in history.
Demonstrate how some historical events can be viewed from a problem/solution frame of mind


This lesson incorporates reading and discussion with an exercise in historical text analysis through a graphic organization model known as the History Change Frame.

For many students, history lessons like this can seem to be a never-ending series of facts: names, dates, places, events. By using the History Change Frame model, students can begin to make sense of history and gain deeper understanding about changes people have experienced.


PDF of background information forteacher and student reference.
PDF History Change Frame GraphicOrganizer
PDF History Change FrameTransparency Master



Step 1
In a brainstorming exercise ask students who they expect will be featured in the reading. Emphasize that they should think of groups of people, not individuals.

What groups of people would you expect to read about in a lesson about The Three Affiliated Tribes and the Garrison Dam?
Responses might include the Tribes, the government, and other farmers and landowners.


Ask students to read background information for lesson 3 (provided in the materials section).



Introduce the History Change Frame on an overhead transparency, whiteboard, blackboard, etc.


Inform students that history tends to focus on people who must try to solve problems that are caused by change. Factual details are provided to help readers understand the problems and the actions taken to solve these problems (Buehl, 2001).


Highlight the categories of changethat are commonly featured in history texts.

Categories of Change

·         Population

·         Technology

·         Environmental

·         Economic

·         Political

·         Beliefs



Assign students to read thebackground information. Have them surveythe information to determine the groups focused on in the material. Model this process by thinking out loud asyou examine the title, headings and subheadings, chapter objectives, picturesand graphics for a prior time period.



Ask students to continue surveying the chapter, looking for clues about problems the groups of people might be encountering. What problems did the Tribes face? The landowners? What problems concerned the government?



As students read, have them work to fill in a blank History Change Frame Graphic Organizer. (Attached Handout). Allow students time to compare with a partner and fill in as many gaps as they can together.



Discuss with students how changes affect people in different ways.
1.   What were some of the major themes presented in the reading? Answers willvary but may include: Garrison Dam,relocation, change.
2.   What does this reading demonstrate about the cultural values of the Three Affiliated Tribes? 



Students fill out the answers to the following questions intheir journal.


1.  How does a dam flood lands? Draw a diagram showing how a dam might be built to create a lake.
How might the land where you live beflooded?

2. How might the land where you live be flooded?



Anticipatory Set

Tell students that today they were introduced to the History Change Frame which can be a useful tool when analyzing text about historic events through time. Tomorrow they will learn about the TAT culture and how education changed through time.


Ask students to start gathering and bringing in newspaper articles, magazine clippings, string, bark yarn and such items so that they will be prepared to make a collage after their visit to Knife River. Their collages will focus on a comparrison of contemporary Hidatsa events with those of modern day America, sescribing similarities and differences.




Students will complete the History Change Frame Graphic Organizer.
Students will answer questions during teacher lead discussion.
Student will create a collage which can be evaluated against the criteria provided (grading rubric) or other criteria designated by the teacher.

Park Connections

After the smallpox epidemic of 1837, the surviving Hidatsa and Mandan moved to Like-a-Fishhook Village and were forced to relocate again as a result of the 1944 Flood Control Act and the construction of the Garrison Dam in the early 1950s.


(Post Visit)
Based on what you have read and learned during your visit to KNRI, create a collage using cutouts from magazines, newspapers, photographs, paper, yarn, bark, or other materials. Your collage should compare the contemporary Hidatsa events with those of modern day America. How are they different? How are they the same.


1851 Treaty of Fort Laramie, General Allotment Act of 1887, Subsistence economy, commodities