Lesson 5: Silenced Injustice: The Exclusion of Native American History from Textbooks

This lesson is designed to be used in middle school or high school classrooms and will take more than 50 minutes to teach but can easily be divided and taught in two class periods. In this lesson, students will consider the concept of injustice in the context of their own lives and contemplate how they would respond to personal injustice. Students will then examine the results of the court cases of the men involved in the plot to murder the Osage, investigate later decisions that allowed these men to avoid serving their complete jail sentences, and determine if the Osage actually received justice. Additionally, students will explore the Osage’s response to these events, making connections between the injustice that the Osage experienced and an example of injustice in their own lives. Students will also discover key information about the Osage today by conducting their own internet investigation. Students will leave this lesson understanding that Native American peoples, like the Osage, are still here, emphasizing the discrepancy between reality and the narrative presented in textbooks. Students will consider this narrative and the potential reasons why Native American history, including Osage history, is excluded from this narrative. Students should understand that this history may not be included in history textbooks because it shines a light on the injustices that Native Americans experienced and the ways in which the U.S. government has failed to provide real, lasting justice. With this in mind, students will contemplate why Native Americans continue to experience injustice in the U.S. and actions we can take to stop this historical pattern of injustice.

Lesson 5: Silenced Injustice: The Exclusion of Native American History from Textbooks