Grade Level:

9, 10, 11, 12

Scope & Sequence:

US History (20th/21st Century)


The students will be able to understand how the building of the Grand Coulee Dam impacted the Spokane Tribe’s way of life.


The students will be able to understand the background and purpose of the Grand Coulee Dam.

Spokane Tribal Values

  • Land and environment
  • Community
  • Forgiveness
  • Honesty
  • Home
  • Generosity
  • Hope


  • FDR
  • Reservoir
  • Public Works
  • Resonate
  • The New Deal
  • Megawatt
  • Inundate
  • 1310 line
  • Jurisdiction

Lesson Plan

  • Introduce vocabulary and definitions – students will make a list with definitions
  • Activate prior knowledge through discussion of depression era • Grand Coulee Dam History – (http://www.nwcouncil.org/history/grandcouleehistory)
  • Teacher will print this document and pass out to students.
  • Students will annotate the text as the teacher reads and discusses. Guiding Questions: • How has the Dam impacted the State overall?
  • What are the Dam benefits for State/farmers/Tribes?
    • Irrigation
    • Manufacturing
    • Transportation
    • Recreation
    • Economy
    • Aluminum
    • Defense


  • Write a letter to Congressman in support of the Spokane Tribe for their Coulee Dam Settlement.


Give students a poem from Children Left Behind: The Dark Legacy of Indian Mission Boarding Schools to analyze and reflect/connect

Materials Needed:

  • Article from website above
  • “Echoes of yesterday” [“Memorial to the American Indian and Howard T. Ball.” re: moving graves for Coulee Dam]
  •  “Damnation” documentary
  • Book: Dupris, J. C., Hill, K. S., & Rodgers, W. H. (2006). The Si’lailo Way: Indians, Salmon and Law on the Columbia River. Durham, NC: Carolina Academic Press.
  • United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP) available online
  • Pictures and maps of rivers after dams


Lesson PDF Download

Related Videos

Related Images

Community Resources

Lesson Assigned To:

  • Social Studies Skills 5.2.1 Creates and uses research questions that are tied to an essential question to focus inquiry an idea, issue, or event.
  • Geo: 3.2.2 Understands and analyzes examples of ethnocentrism.


Common Core Standards

RL.9-10.2 Determine a theme or central idea of a text and analyze in detail its development over the course of the text, including how it emerges and is shaped and refined by specific details; provide an objective summary of the text.

Spokane Tribal Standards