History & Geography Unit 1-4: WA Territory & Treaty Making

History & Geography Unit 1-4: WA Territory & Treaty Making

Grade Level:


Scope & Sequence:

Washington State History (Local Tribe History)


The students will be able to discuss what led up to the Battle of 1858, between the Spokane Indians vs. the US Government.


The students will be able to construct a time line that will detail what led up to the Battle of 1858.

Spokane Tribal Values

  • Christian Missions on the STOI
  • Hudson Bay fur trappers/traders
  • Oregon Trail bringing foreigners to Indian country.
  • Gold found


  • Missionaries
  • Immunity
  • Ransom
  • Whitman Massacre/Tshimikin Mission
  • Hudson Bay Company
  • Voyageurs • Barter
  • Oregon Territory
  • Entrepreneur
  • Graded (Mullan Road)
  • Survey (Mullan Road)
  • Conflict

Lesson Plan

The teacher will:

  • Ask the students to define Conflict. Write their answers on the board. Ask two students to look up the definition of Conflict and have them write that on the board.
  • Ask the class to give examples of what a conflict might look like, what might cause a conflict…
  • Explain to the students that there are always two sided to every conflict, and that the sometimes both sides of the story are not told. Today we will be looking into the reasons the Spokane Indians and their neighbors felt it necessary to defend themselves against Colonel Steptoe, which would eventually led them into the Battle of 1858 with Colonel George Wright.
  • Have the students read P. 69 – 73, British Fur Traders.
  • On a map locate Canada and the headquarters of the Hudson Bay Company, follow the Columbia River down and into WA. Locate the Fur Trading Companies on the map. Point out the one’s nearest the Spokane Indians.
  • Point out to the students that the Hudson Bay Company (foreign corporation) was promoting war against the US Government. Telling the Indians to drive out the US government and we will pay you more for your land.
  • Discuss how the first contact with the white fur trappers and traders effected the Spokane Indians way of life.
  • P. 55 worksheet, Good or Bad?
  • Next, explain to the students while the Fur Companies were harvest too many animals, a new group of people were coming into the area to convert the Indians to their way of life.
  • Show pictures of Christian Missionaries on the Oregon Trail, who have one thing in mind…convert the Indians to their way of life.
  • Read P. 76 – 78, Christian Missionaries
  • Discuss with the students, Marcus and Narcissa Whitman and the measles epidemic. How this might cause conflicts for the Spokane Indians later.
  • Discuss the establishment of the Tshimikin Mission by Elkanah and Mary Walker.
  • Show the students a map that displays Railroad’s coming into the area. Discuss with the students the coming of the Railroad and how they caused much conflict between the Native Americans in the area and the US Government.
  • P.79 – 85, GO WEST! Read and discuss (Students will take Cornell Notes)
  • Watch the video: __________________________.
  • Read and discuss The Bolan Report (Military Report)
  • P. 86, The Mullan Road, Discuss with the students that when the Spokane’s hear that Mullan is coming to “Survey” the land, they believe the word “Survey” is a bad word, meaning they will lose their lands…so the Indians take up arms.
  • P.67 worksheet, Cause and Effect –Discuss with the students; Cause: When settlers came to Washington territory, they caused many changes in the natural environment and in the lifestyle of the Indian people. Effects: The way of life changed for the Indians from hunting/fishing, religion, gathering foods. OR Cause: American settlers move onto land occupied by various tribes. Effects: Some of the settlers have the measles – many Indians die from measles – The Whitmans and other are killed. OR Cause: Governor Stevens tries to get the Indians to sign treaties to divide up the land of the Columbia Plateau. Effects: Kamiakin is chosen leader of various small bands who are called the Yakama-The Indians sign treaties – White settlers hunting for gold violate the treaty – Indians fight back.
  • Ch. 3 Fortunes of War, Children of the Sun by Dave C. Wynecoop. Read and discuss with the class, how the discovery of gold was detrimental to the Spokane Indians.


  • K-W-L Chart
  • Worksheet p. 55 and 67
  • The students will create a timeline that correctly tells what led up to the Battle of 1858 between the Spokane Indians and the US government.


The students will create a Documentary that explains what led up to the Battle of 1858. The students will create their own script and backdrop that will help tell the story.

Materials Needed:

  • P. 69-73 British Fur Traders and pictures
  • P. 55 worksheet, Good or Bad?
  • Fur pelts
  • P. 76-78 Christian Missionaries and pictures
  • P. 79 – 84 Go West! and pictures
  • P. 67 worksheet, Cause and Effect
  • P. 86, The Mullan Road
  • Bolan Report (Military Report)
  • Hudson Bay – Indian Agent Reports
  • Kip Report (Military Report) “Every man has his price.”
  • Walla Walla Treaty 1855
  • Children of the Sun by Dave C. Wynecoop, Ch. 3 Fortunes of War
  • Map of WA-students will labeled (Areas outlining the areas where local Indians people lived, hunted, camped…Fur trading companies, Christian Missions in the area, Oregon Trail, railroads, Steptoe’s encounter with the Spokane’s.
  • Butcher paper Colored pencils/markers: for creation of time line.


  • Divide students up into two groups, one group will research the People on the Oregon Trail, Why they are on the trail? The other group will research the Indians that live in the area and had encounters with the Oregon Trail. What did the encroachment mean to their lives? How did their lives change? Not all Native groups had direct contact with the Oregon Trail settlers, but their lives were changed, research how this could take place.
  • Hold a class Debate on The Oregon Trail: Good or Bad.
  • In groups of 2 or 3’s, The students will take all of the information learned and form and create a timeline that shows what led up to the upcoming Battle of 1858 with Colonel G. Wright.

Lesson PDF Download

Related Videos

Related Images

Community Resources

Lesson Assigned To:

  • History: 4.1.2, 4.3.2
  • Geography: 3.1.2, 3.2.2


Common Core Standards


Spokane Tribal Standards

  • Language:
  • Preservation: Historical information
  • DNR: Historical photos to enhance lecture