Cultures in Conflict – Native Americans & European Settlers


Early Indian Languages of the USA

Image via Wikipedia


Teaching Idea:
Cultures in Conflict (K-5)

Students will learn about historical interactions between Native Americans and European settlers, as well as contemporary cultural clashes.

Time requirements:
Preparation (30 minutes)
Class (50 minutes)


CultureGrams States Edition


1.    Divide students into groups of four to five people. Assign each group to survey the Native America category and the early history sections of some of the above reports in the States Edition. Instruct the students to look for patterns in the development of the “New World.” The groups should focus on the sections dealing with Native American inhabitants, the interaction between Native Americans and whites, the exploration of the American frontier, etc.

2.    As they are reading, ask the groups to compile a list of the factors that generally led to conflict between Native American inhabitants and white explorers and settlers. These could include cultural and religious differences, common threats to survival, competing interests in land and natural resources, etc.

3.    Lead a class discussion about the relationships generally between Native Americans and white settlers in U.S. history. Was conflict inevitable? Why do people have trouble accepting others who are different? What could have been done to reduce the negative effects of conflict?

Discussion questions:

1.    Ask students if they saw any application from this lesson in their lives today. What are some of the things that cause conflicts between students and their friends or family members?

2.    How has the United States tried to be a home for many different groups of people, including Native Americans and immigrants from different countries? How well do you think it has succeeded?

Extension activity: Assign students to write a paper describing what factors generally led to conflict between Native American inhabitants and white settlers.


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