History Unit 0-4: U.S. History

History Unit 0-4: U.S. History

Grade Level:

9, 10, 11, 12

Scope & Sequence:

US History (20th/21st Century)


Examine the political, economic, and social effects of the Allotment Act of 1887


Analyze the impact of the Allotment Act (Dawes Act) of 1887 on the Spokane Indian Reservation

Spokane Tribal Values

  • Land (distribution, use, allotment)
  • Tribal Affiliation
  • Placement of Family Allotments


  • Assimilation
  • Allotment
  •  Jurisdiction
  • Immunity
  • Identity politics (loss of tribal affiliation)
  • Dawes Act/Roll
  • Testimony of land
  • Trust

Lesson Plan

The teacher will:

  • Activate discussion by posting the map of 1906-1909 Spokane Tribal Allotments.
    • General guiding questions: What do you see?
    • Based on your knowledge of the Allotment Act, explain the impact on the Spokane Tribe.
    • Review the process of handing out allotments.
  • Teacher posts quote by Alice Fletcher
    • “The Dawes Act was a way to break up the whole tribal structure of Native American nations. Instead of saying you are a group of people, all of a sudden you are individual landowners ─ you are Americans. And so it was designed to break up community, to civilize people, make us farmers, and also break up our tribal structure.” – Alice Fletcher
  • Teacher shows YouTube video (Letter from Chief Seattle) to contrast this quote. https://youtu.be/7kOamt9o0hA
  • Teacher opens discussion with the impacts from this Act.
    • Access (hunting, fishing, gathering, Medicinal uses) to lands off current Reservation (Federal parks, B.L.M, etc.)
    • Review Collective ownership and Individual Ownership
    • Jurisdiction (Dawes “under the Jurisdiction of…”) State roads on Tribal Land, Federal Prosecution on Tribal land around certain offenses.
    • Comparison to other Reservations (others are so Checker-boarded, hard to see the sovereignty and jurisdictional boundaries)
    • Look at Current Land Status Map for Spokane tribe and other regional tribes – Colville, Coeur d’Alene (compare the tribal allotments, individual allotments, fee lands)
    • Compare from original allotments to today’s ownership.
      • What changes do you notice?
      • What happened to land that does not belong to families any longer?
    • Spokane Tribal Value: Land and belonging
      • Benefits: Hunt, fish, gather, having freedoms on your lands.
    • Discuss differences between Tribal trust, individual trust, and fractionated land. Tribal fee (Tribe has no say over land) Tribal member paying taxes on land.
      • Information documents found: Updated Federal law from Realty (Robin Arnoux)
      • Robin Arnoux or Nicole RunningCrane – Garcia Guest Speaker to discuss this particular topic
    • Look at land from original allotment, look at land status map (current)
      • Decide, it current land status is
        • Still original allotment? Changed?
        • Tribal Trust? Individual Trust? Fee? Tribal Member fee?
    • Discuss: Options for land ownership in your future.
      • Housing
      • Buy from current owner
      • Home site lease from Tribe
      • If you own fractionated land, then land swap with Tribe.
    • To approach the question of making reservation bigger?
      • Buy land off reservation, follow process with Dept. of Interior (fee to trust) to give land to Tribe.
    • Allow students to ask questions around the Act
  • Teacher writes and keeps questions as they are answered throughout the lesson, if questions are not answered, answer them after lesson or keep and share with Community Partners (Warren Seyler, Robin Arnoux)



Write an article from the perspective of a Spokane Tribal Member in 1906-1909 describing the allotment, land available to non tribal members.

Materials Needed:

  • Advertisement from Spokane Chronicle for Allotments.
  • Picture of Homesteaders waiting by Little Falls.
  • Minutes of distribution of Allotments.
  • Maps (original allotments, current land status map, other tribe’s land status map)
  • Picture from Dave Wynecoop’s book – advertisement for homestead


Lesson PDF Download

Related Videos

Related Images

Community Resources

Lesson Assigned To:


Common Core Standards

Spokane Tribal Standards