First a couple of personal comments:
1. It is really hard to do your readings when your colleagues are off playing roulette (and winning big). (And to answer your questions: yes, I gambled; yes, I lost (a whole five dollars); and yes, I did a bit of reading...)
2. It is really hard to do your readings when you've just spent five hours working in an exhibit booth talking to people and doing demonstrations and all you want to do is watch the sun set (it was really very pretty) and put your feet up.
3. Reno is not quite the hot spot one would expect but Lake Tahoe is lovely.
More stories later...
Now for the homework...
In our Teacher Guide for the Primary Source set on Native American Assimilation the quote given at the top of the page is "Kill the Indian and Save the Man". I think I might start any lesson I did by asking the students what they thought that quote meant and if there are vestiges of that idea in some groups or activities that have taken place later in history and in the present day.
One of my favorite sets of images to use to discuss Native American Assimilation can be found in the Primary Source Set for our the Thematic Resource The People...Native Americans . There are two images that are side by side showing first Native Americans arriving at the Carlisle Indian School in Pennsylvania and then these same students a few months later. I would hand one image to half of the class and then the second image to the other half of the class and have them each do the KWL chart and then have each side present what they see in the image and then show the images together and have them compare the students in each image. Something one of my colleagues has done is put together a viewfinder made out of a note card pr small piece of paper so that the students can focus on one part of the image at a time perhaps identifying who is who in each image.
We do have one lesson plan that focuses on Native American Boarding Schools. I love the quotes to be used with the students' journal pages especially the one from Zitkala Sa who talks about what it was like to have her hair cut.
One of my favorite collections is the Curtis Collection of Photographs. We have a Collection Connection for the Curtis Collection that asks questions about Curtis and his images. I think it would be interesting to look at these images and what is also taking place at the time with the Native American Community. What is Curtis saying with these photographs? Why did he ask that they wear their traditional garb and pose in certain ways?
Other places to visit include the Indian Removal Act Primary Sources which includes internal and external sources relating to Indian Removal, our Immigration Feature on Native Americans the music, stories and oral interviews collected by the American Folklief Center from the Omaha Indians from the late 1800's and from the 1980's, the American Life Histories interviews done during the Depression which include some people's experiences with Native Americans and the American Indians of the Pacific Northwest collection which looks at the lives of the Indian tribes in the American Northwest. I've also found some really neat items on Calisphere from the University of California and on the Indian Country Diaries website from PBS.
I think that I would want to end any lesson relating to this topic with the question of what would we have lost if we had totally assimiliated the Native American Tribes? What knowledge would we not have? What experiences would have been lost? I think I would also want the students to think about what traditions they have that are passed down and how their lives would be different if those traditions had been lost.