Use the Waiilatpu Mission Teachers’ Guide or one of the activities below to bring closure to your field trip to Whitman Mission National Historic Site:
Letters and Speeches
Have students write one or more of the following letters or speeches:
1. As an emigrant who passes through Whitman Mission in 1846, write a letter describing the Mission to your family back in Iowa.
2. As a Cayuse, write a speech about why all the new things brought by the Whitman's and the pioneers are good things or are bad things.
3. As a 12-year-old emigrant in 1847 who is at the mission shortly before the Whitman's are killed and who has measles, write a letter to a friend back home.
4. As a citizen in the 1890’s, write a letter to the United States Congress asking that the site of the Whitman Mission be preserved as a National Memorial.
5. As a Cayuse Indian, write a plea to the judge at the trial of the five Cayuse who are accused of killing the Whitman's, explaining why they should not be executed.
Have students illustrate the above letters or:
1. Draw a picture of what the mission looked like in 1847.
2. Draw a picture of a Cayuse village in the 1830’s.
Using a map of the United States, find the route of the Oregon Trail and have each student pick out a point on the trail to research and share with the class.
Learn more about the Cayuse Indians and the Treaty of 1855 that created their reservation. Look at the Tamastslikt Cultural Institute Website http://www.umatilla.nsn.us/ or visit the museum itself.
Did You Know?
The Whitmans’ mission was important to early Oregon Trail travelers. Those who were sick, tired, or hungry or who needed a wagon fixed would make the side trip to the mission. Some would spend the winter with the Whitmans before continuing on to the Willamette Valley.