Lesson 4: Osage Life Post-Removal: Corruption and the “Reign of Terror”

This lesson is designed to be used in middle school or high school classrooms and should take approximately 50 minutes to teach. In this lesson, students will check their understanding of corruption by defining it in their own words, comparing their definition to the dictionary’s definition, and providing examples of corruption. Students will then examine the corruption that was prevalent in Osage County during the 1920s, as well as the effects of this corruption on the Osage, such as the fear that led some to refer to this time period as the “Reign of Terror.” Students will also investigate the case of Mollie Burkhart’s family, allowing them to better understand the injustice that the Osage experienced during this time period. Although only Mollie Burkhart’s family is discussed in detail, students will leave this lesson understanding that many Osage were affected by the corruption that existed during this time period. Students will also know the ways in which the Osage advocated for themselves and the U.S. government’s relative inaction in response to the Osage Nation’s requests. At the end of this lesson, students will consider what peace and justice for the Osage could have looked like by considering various scenarios and the ways in which these scenarios could have changed history.