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How to
Use the Activities


Inquiry Question

Historical Context




Table of

Putting It All Together

The following activities will help students better understand some of the complicated conflicts illustrated by the Civil War in Indian Territory.

Activity 1: What shall we do?
Have students divide themselves into small groups and imagine that they are Native Americans attending a tribal council in early 1861. Explain to them that it will be their decision as to whether or not their nation will support the Union or Confederate cause. Each group should select a representative who, in the tradition of the councils, will be expected to speak about their group's position. Before the group representatives present, the class should decide the rules of council--does the decision have to be unanimous? If not, how large must the majority be? After the process is set, give the groups time to think about their views, then invite them to allow their representatives to make their speeches. After each group has shared, each student makes an individual vote so that a decision can be reached. At the conclusion of the exercise, assign a short writing assignment in which students give you a short description about whether this was a difficult exercise, or not, and why so. While writing their descriptions, students should consider both how the class set up the rules and came to a final decision on the issue.

Activity 2: The Great Equalizer
The commanding officers of both Union and Confederate forces at the Battle of Honey Springs praised the bravery and discipline of their African American and Indian units in their official reports on the battle, whatever their personal feelings might have been. Ask students to investigate how soldiers' conduct in other battles has affected racial attitudes. Assign a short essay using library research on the topic of how one of the following groups has participated in American wars: African Americans, Native Americans, Hispanic Americans, or Asian Americans. In their essays students should note in particular what role their group played in the military at the start of each war, how and why that role changed over the course of the war, and what military leaders thought of these soldiers by the end of the war. The essays should also include the reasons why members of the group they selected wanted to be part of the military.

Activity 3: Working Together Across Ethnic Lines
After reading this lesson and participating in the other activities students will have ascertained that during the Battle of Honey Springs African-American, American-Indian, and European-American soldiers fought together for the Union. Ask students to consider their own communities and whether or not there are examples in which distinct racial, ethnic, or cultural groups previously at odds banded together to meet a common goal. Ask students how successful were these occurrences, what issue was involved, and why the different groups joined together. After this classroom discussion, assign a skit or a written or oral report where students use library research and visits to their local historical society or cultural center to further study and learn about their example of different ethnic groups joining in order to reach a common goal.



Comments or Questions

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