Students will use primary sources to investigate the boundaries of the Cherokee lands set for North Carolina after the Revolutionary War.
A lesson plan for grades 8–10 Social Studies
Students will read early government treaties that forced the Cherokee off their land and will use those treaties to illustrate the changes in the boundaries of Cherokee land.
Time required for lesson
One class period
- Blank maps of the Southeastern United States — one per student
- Copies of the Treaty of 1817 — enough for half the students in the class
- Copies of the Treaty of 1819 — enough for half the students in the class
- Access to a map of Cherokee land
- Computers or devices with internet access (optional)
- Interactive white board or multimedia projector connected to a computer (optional)
- Give half the students in the class a copy of of the Treaty of 1817, and give the other half of the class a copy of the Treaty of 1819. Alternatively, you can have them access these documents on individual computers.
- Have students read their treaty and highlight or make note of any mention of land claims.
- Next, give each student a copy of the blank map of the Southeastern United States. Students should try to locate the locales mentioned in the treaties and label them on their blank maps.
- Allow students to share their highlighted texts orally with a partner who read a the other treaty.
- Ask students, along with their partner, to choose one color and shade all of the territory lost due to the Treaty of 1817. Then using a second color, students should shade additional territory lost due to the Treaty of 1819.
- Either provide a map of the original Cherokee land area to students or project one on the white board. Have the students include this information in their maps. Remind students to create a map key to show what all the colors mean.
- Guide students in sharing their maps with the rest of the class and address any inconsistencies that may arise during this discussion.
Conduct a class discussion after the map activity. Students may be assessed based on contributions to the class discussion. Alternatively, have the students write a response describing the treaties and their major points. Also, students may write about the language of the treaties and any inequity they uncover.
- This activity can be done with small pieces of construction paper (punched out with a single hole punch) and then pasted onto a blank map with a single color used for each different state and the ocean. Don’t forget to have students create a key.
- Have students conduct more research about how some of the Cherokees responded to these treaties as well as what happens to the tribe over time.
- Report and Resolution of a Joint Committee of the Legislature of North Carolina
- This primary source, from Documenting the American South, may provide additional insight into the interactions between the government of North Carolina and the Cherokee Nation.
- North Carolina Essential Standards
- Social Studies (2010)
- 8.H.1 Apply historical thinking to understand the creation and development of North Carolina and the United States. 8.H.1.1 Construct charts, graphs, and historical narratives to explain particular events or issues. 8.H.1.2 Summarize the literal meaning of...
- 8.H.3 Understand the factors that contribute to change and continuity in North Carolina and the United States. 8.H.3.1 Explain how migration and immigration contributed to the development of North Carolina and the United States from colonization to contemporary...
United States History I
- USH.H.3 Understand the factors that led to exploration, settlement, movement, and expansion and their impact on United States development over time. USH.H.3.1 Analyze how economic, political, social, military and religious factors influenced European exploration...
- Social Studies (2010)
North Carolina curriculum alignment
Social Studies (2003)
- Goal 3: The learner will identify key events and evaluate the impact of reform and expansion in North Carolina during the first half of the 19th century.
- Objective 3.05: Compare and contrast different perspectives among North Carolinians on the national policy of Removal and Resettlement of American Indian populations.