The Intrusion of Strangers
Submitted by: Christine McCoid
Lesson Overview
Concept In this lesson, students will look at the reactions of two Native American tribes to the arrival of the Corps of Discovery.  Students will discuss the two tribes, then explain the arrival of the Corps from a Native American's point of view.
Performance Objectives

Students will be able to:

1.  Recognize the reactions of Native Americans to the arrival of the Corps of Discovery.
2.  Read and respond to journal entries of the men on the expedition.
3.  Compare and contrast tribe reactions to the Corps.
4.  Write a journal entry.


1. Research materials: Excerpts from Lewis and Clark journals can be found at the following Web sites:

2. Computer(s); word processing software; Internet Web browser


1.  Prior to the lesson, locate online the Lewis and Clark journal entries related to the Blackfeet and Shoshone tribes.

2.  Have students locate excerpts from Lewis and Clark journals online.  Have students share the excerpts with the class and discuss them.

3.  Discuss with students what can be learned from reading journal excerpts.  Elicit answers such as a better understanding of one's feelings, first-hand account of an event, more detail about one's experiences.

4.  Share the journal entries you have about encounters with the Blackfeet and Shoshone tribes.  Ask students to listen for differences in feelings and reactions to the two separate tribes.  They will notice that the relationship with the Blackfeet tribe was very violent, while that with the Shoshone was very friendly.

5.  Discuss with the class how tribes may have felt with the "intrusion" of these strangers, the men on the expedition.  What are some reasons they may have reacted in a friendly way?  (share resources, trade opportunities)  What are some reasons they may have reacted in a violent way?  (fear, protecting families and land).

6.  Divide class into two groups.  One group will be the Blackfeet tribe, and one the Shoshone tribe.  Have each group take some time to talk about different roles in the tribe.  Each member of the group should be assigned a role, i.e. chief, chief's wife, warrior, tribal leader, healer, religious leader, tribal elder, child, adolescent male, adolescent female, etc.

7.  Have each student write a journal entry from the point of view of the person they have been assigned.  The topic of the journal entry should be an encounter with the Corps of Discovery.  Tell students to consider the feelings, intentions, and thoughts of the person whose role they assume.  For example, a healer from the Blackfeet tribe may wish the tribe would cooperate with the Corps so they could share new methods of healing.  Or a warrior from the Shoshone tribe may be distrusting of the Corps' friendly nature because he has encountered violent groups before.

8.  Have students share journal entries with the class, and hold a discussion about the feelings different tribal members may have had as a result of the arrival ("intrusion") of the Corps of Discovery.  Discuss with the class what their feelings and reactions may have been in that situation.

Teacher Notes

Refer to content in the "Indian Country" article.

Student Assessment Tools Written assignment

Students will be assessed on:
1.  Class participation and group discussion.
2.  Factual accuracy of journal entry.
3.  Journal entry components, i.e. personal reaction, feelings.

Related Web Sites The History of the Lewis and Clark Expedition: A detailed history of the expedition, with journal excerpts.

Lewis and Clark TrailLinks to resources and journal entries.

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