Lesson Two: Meeting the Tribes

Focus questions:

Imbedded Information in the Student Lesson:

Spirit Mound; Yanktons; Pierre Dorion; Tetons; Arikaras


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                Lewis and Clark Word Match

Classroom Activity:

     The Corps of Discovery used North American Indian sign language to communicate with the tribes they encountered. Most tribes on the Great Plains understood sign language. Several age-appropriate books are available on Indian sign language, such as Karen Liptakís North American Indian Sign Language (New York: Franklin Watts, 1990) and George Fronval and Daniel Duboisís Indian Signs and Signals (New York: Sterling Publishing Company, 1978). Select some basic signs for your students to learn, or remind them of the ones they already know: fingers to lips for silence; a cupped ear for listening; a raised right hand, palm out, for greeting; both hands palms out and moved downward to signal calm or calm down. You can also suggest that a few English words, such as friend, good, bad, gun, fur, and tobacco, represent the few words of Lakota that the explorers knew.

     Select four to six students to role play Lewis, Clark, and corps members communicating with Black Buffalo, Partisan, and the Tetons or any South Dakota tribe. The students should greet each other, exchange gifts, and share food. Those students acting as corps members should explain their mission and request cooperation from the Indians. The students portraying Indians should react to the corpsí requests.

Local Adventures:

     Take your class on a field trip to one of the many sites in South Dakota visited by the Lewis and Clark expedition. For more information call 1-800-S-DAKOTA (1-800-732-5682) or check the Internet at http://www.travelsd.com .