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Social History for Every Classroom

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A White Californian Argues for Indian Indenture (with text supports)

White Californians complained that the new American government, which took over California after the Treaty of Guadalupe-Hidalgo in May 1848, was not doing enough to control and regulate Indian labor. In the chaos of the Mexican War, many Indian [...]

Chart of Native American Child Apprentices, 1861

California passed two laws that established a system of Indian apprenticeship. The laws made it easy for any white person to claim young Indian laborers by taking a list of names to a judge and getting the judge’s signature. Sympathetic [...]

An Indian Child Apprentice Poses for a Photographer

This photograph of a Native American child apprentice was taken near Red Bluff, Tehama County, California. The boy, about ten years old, would be “bound” to a master until he was 25, as California law apprenticed boys under 14 until [...]

George A. Croffut Explains the Print "American Progress"

Entrepreneur George A. Croffut published several tourist guides and manuals encouraging Americans to visit and settle in the West. His guides prominently featured the expanding railroad network as the best way to explore the vast territory beyond [...]

John Ordway Describes Meeting the Teton Sioux

In 1804, President Thomas Jefferson hired Meriwether Lewis and William Clark to explore the vast territory of the Louisiana Purchase, recently acquired from France. Lewis and Clark followed the path of the Missouri and Columbia Rivers through eleven [...]

What were Winter Counts?

This background essay, adapted from a Smithsonian Institution online exhibit, provides information about the Winter Count calendars kept by many Lakota Indian bands.

Item Type: Article/Essay
Analysis Worksheet: How is History Recorded?

This worksheet helps students compare two historical documents, a journal entry from the Lewis and Clark expedition and excerpts from a Lakota Winter Count. The sections of the worksheet align to major sections of the Common Core reading standards: [...]

American Horse's Winter Count

American Horse (1840-1908) was an Oglala Lakota chief who participated in the Sioux Wars of the 1870s. He was also a "keeper," responsible for maintaining his band's "winter count," which had been passed down from his grandfather, to his father, to [...]

Background Essay on Iron Horses and Indians

This essay discusses the impact of the transcontinental railroad on Native American life. It focuses on the role of buffalo hunters in the federal government's policy of Indian removal. This essay, and the related Iron Horse vs. the Buffalo [...]

Chiricahua Apache Prisoners, Including Geronimo

The U.S. Army and the Apache tribe (who called themselves N’ne, meaning “the people”) engaged in armed conflict in the U.S. Southwest from 1851 through 1886. On September 4, 1886, the famed Apache leader Geronimo (or Goyahkla) surrendered to [...]


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