V. Classroom Activities

The documents in this packet can be used to supplement existing lesson plans, or they can form the basis of a new teaching unit about contact between Europeans and Indians along the Northwest Coast. The unit could range from a week-long major assignment to a series of projects spanning several weeks. The suggestions presented below are just that—suggestions.

1) Consider a field trip to a local museum. Telephone to see if any nearby museums of anthropology or Native history have any exhibits that document contact between Europeans and Indians or the effect of such contact.

2) Hold an introductory discussion. Ask students to think about how they know what they know about the past. What kinds of sources might provide evidence about past events? How does the evidence provided by a newspaper article differ from that provided by a drawing, or letter?

3) Ask students to think about how the evidence left by Indian peoples differs from the evidence left by European peoples. How does the fact that Indian people in the late 18th and early 19th centuries did not leave written records affect what we know about the history of the period?

4) Have students imagine that they are Tomas de la Peña or Juan Crespi. However, have the students suppose that the Spanish explorers encountered 21st-century American teenagers instead of 18th-century Indian people. Ask them to write a journal account of their first meetings with these strange teenage people.

5) Hold a debate about the Nootka Controversy. Who should retain control over Nootka Sound in the 1790s? Assign students to represent the British, Spanish, Americans, and Nuu-chah-nulth.

6) Tell students to pretend that they are Nuu-chah-nulth living in 1788. Because they are fluent in a European language, Chief Maquinna has assigned them the task of creating a brochure for distribution among European traders. This brochure will explain Maquinna’s vision for the future of Nootka Sound, as well as explaining the Europeans’ role in this future.

7) Stage a talk show in which students portray and interview the major figures of the Nootka Controversy. Martinez, Colnett, Meares, Maquinna, Callicum, Vancouver, Bodega y Quadra, and Kendrick could be represented.

8) Read the accounts of Archibald Menzies and John Boit side by side. Discuss how each man’s training and background affected the things he noticed and recorded.

9) Ask students to imagine things from Chief Maquinna’s perspective. Have them read the two documents written by John Jewitt, and them ask them to write about how Maquinna would have described Jewitt’s stay among his people.

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Center for the Study of the Pacific Northwest