Publication Date: March 27, 2020
The Lewis and Clark Corps of Discovery is often presented as an exciting adventure story of discovery, friendship, and patriotism. However, this same period in U.S. history can be understood quite differently when viewed through an anticolonial lens and the Doctrine of Discovery. How might educators critically interrogate the assumptions that underlie this adventure story through their teaching? This book challenges dominant narratives and packaged curriculum about Lewis and Clark to support more responsible social studies instruction. The authors provide a conceptual framework, ready-to-use lesson plans, and teaching resources to address oversimplified versions of the Lewis and Clark expedition. Indigenous perspectives, along with contemporary issues, are embedded in each lesson to encourage active and critical engagement with history and the legacies of conquest those living in what is now called the United States have inherited.
Alison Schmitke is a senior lecturer and director of the Educational Foundations Program at the University of Oregon. Leilani Sabzalian (Alutiiq) is an assistant professor of Indigenous Studies in Education at the University of Oregon. Jeff Edmundson is a former high school teacher and recently retired after many years as director of the teacher education program at the University of Oregon.
“This amazing book, and the thoughtful lesson plans included therein, should be required teaching materials in all K–12 classrooms in the United States. The unique and invaluable information that the authors provide will expose students to the federal law that still restricts Native Nations today and will require students to think more critically about this chapter of American history and what they have previously been taught on the subject. This book is revisionist history in the best sense of that tradition because it teaches students a more complete, more true, and more complex history about the Lewis and Clark expedition.”
—Robert J. Miller, professor, Sandra Day O'Connor College of Law, Arizona State University
“The story of the ‘Corps of Discovery’ remains one of the most persistent yet misunderstood historical narratives within K–12 classrooms. Teaching Critically about Lewis and Clark offers rare support for teachers, teacher educators, and schools ‘to challenge these issues, to defend tribal sovereignty, and to stand in solidarity with Indigenous peoples’ (p. 10). The book’s resources and strategies advance historical rigor, contemporary relevance, critical thinking about multiple perspectives, inquiry-based experiences, and alignment with state level initiatives like Montana’s Indian Education for All and Washington’s Since Time Immemorial, all while revitalizing Indigenous histories that have been marginalized or suppressed for 200+ years.”
—Christine Rogers Stanton, associate professor of K–12 Social Studies Education, Montana State University
Part I: Introduction
1. Beyond Adventure
2. The Doctrine of Discovery
3. Unpacking Colonial Logics in Curriculum
Part II: Elementary Lesson Plans
Elementary Lesson Plan 1: “We’re Still Here”
Elementary Lesson Plan 2: What were the goals of the Lewis and Clark Corps of Discovery?
Elementary Lesson Plan 3: The Jefferson Peace Medals
Elementary Lesson Plan 4: Sacagawea: Beyond Interpreter and Guide
Elementary Lesson Plan 5: “Everything was Already Loved:” Complicating Discovery and Science
Elementary Lesson Plan 6: A Stolen Canoe Returned
Part III: Secondary Lesson Plans
Secondary Lesson Plan 1: The Stories Maps Tell
Secondary Lesson Plan 2: What were the goals of the Lewis and Clark Corps of Discovery?
Secondary Lesson Plan 3: Johnson v. McIntosh (1823) and the Doctrine of Discovery
Secondary Lesson Plan 4: Questioning American Progress (Gast, 1972)
Secondary Lesson Plan 5: Standing Rock and the “Larger Story”
Secondary Lesson Plan 6: Role Play: The Bicentennial of the Lewis and Clark Corps of Discovery
Part iv: Teaching Resources
Teaching Resource 1: Piecing Me Together by Renée Watson (2017)
Teaching Resource 2: Partnerships Realized: The Confluence Project
Teaching Resource 3: Honoring Tribal Legacies: An Epic Journey of Healing
Appendix 1: Native Lands Under Siege
Appendix 2: The Standards
About the Authors