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Native Americans and the Geography of Land Dispossession Inquiry

Setting the Stage
Introduce students to an online map of their community like Google Maps. Hand out a map of their same community from the 1800s. Ask students to think about and discuss what would happen if everyone started using the map from the 1800s to make decisions about who could use the property in their community instead of using the modern map.
 
Supporting Questions
How did the possession of land change from the time of first European contact to the American Revolution?
 
How did the possession of land change from the time of the American Revolution to the present?
 
What impact did these geographic changes have on American Indian groups in New York State?
 
Formative Assessments
Using evidence from the deeds and the maps, explain the changes in Iroquoian land possession before the American Revolution.
 
Using evidence from the maps, explain the changes in Iroquoian land possession after the American Revolution.
 
Using evidence from the census data and maps, explain the effects of land dispossession on the Onondaga.
 
Argument
What role do maps play in the social, political, and economic standing of a group or individual in society?
 
Extension
Research the location of American Indian groups during the American Revolution. How did their location influence their role in the war?
 
Taking Informed Action
​Are there current issues in your community related to geography (water usage, location of schools, transportation, etc.)? If so, think of ways you could help solve one of these issues.