Native Americans and Jamestown
Using primary sources, students will investigate the role of Native Americans in the successes and failures of Jamestown. Students will identify and analyze inaccurate portrayals of Pocahontas and Powhatan by comparing historical facts with literary fiction.
A lesson plan for grades 11–12 Social Studies
- compare and contrast life for Native Americans before and after Jamestown was colonized
- identify problems encountered by the settlers of Jamestown
- analyze primary sources and identify bias
Time required for lesson
- two images of Pocahontas: 1 | 2
- copies of John Lawson’s Biographical Information
- copies of an excerpt from Lawson’s book A New Voyage to Carolina, in digital form on the Documenting the American South website
- copies of Chief Roy Crazy Horse’s “The Pocahontas Myth”
Computer lab or individual student computers
Introduce students, briefly, to the history of Jamestown.
- Read John Lawson’s biography and excerpts from his “A New Voyage to Carolina”. An excerpt is available in LEARN NC’s North Carolina: A Digital History. It may also be useful to search the entire book on the Documenting the American South website for passages about American Indians.
- Discuss with students Lawson’s attitude towards the Indians he encountered:
- How does he view them?
- What prejudices does he exhibit?
- Why did he write this book?
- Who was the intended audience?
- Have students compare and contrast the oil painting of Pocahontas, copied from an engraving made in 1616 by Simon van de Passe, with Disney’s version of the princess from the 1995 movie. Discuss where each image came from. (This Wikipedia article gives context for the engraver of the 17th-century image.)
- Have students read and respond to Chief Roy Crazy Horse’s “The Pocahontas Myth.” in a one-page essay.
Assess students’ essays. The well written essay will refute or deny his claims by providing supporting details.
- North Carolina Essential Standards
- Social Studies (2010)
Turning Points in American History
- 12.H.1 Analyze various turning points in American history in terms of their development and implications. 12.H.1.1 Analyze specific turning points in terms of multiple causation. 12.H.1.2 Analyze specific turning points in terms of the interaction between...
United States History I
- USH.H.1 Apply the four interconnected dimensions of historical thinking to the United States History Essential Standards in order to understand the creation and development of the United States over time. USH.H.1.1 Use Chronological thinking to: Identify the...
- Social Studies (2010)
North Carolina curriculum alignment
Social Studies (2003)
Grade 11–12 — American Indian Studies
- Goal 2: The learner will analyze the historical developments that characterize Native American life in the period prior to the Civil War.
- Objective 2.01: Explain the effects of contact and conflict between American Indians and Europeans.
- Objective 2.02: Assess the impact of exploration and colonization of the Americas by Spain, France, England, and other European powers.
- Goal 2: Emerging Civilizations - The learner will analyze the development of early civilizations in Africa, Asia, Europe, and the Americas.
- Objective 2.08: Evaluate the achievements of the major civilizations of the Americas during the pre-Columbian epoch including, but not limited to, the Aztecs, Incas, and Mayas.