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Pushmataha: Choctaw Warrior, Diplomat, and Chief lesson plan

OVERVIEW

Leaders of today, as well as in the past, assume many roles in their quest for leadership. Choctaw Chief Pushmataha, who led the Six Town Division of the Choctaw Confederacy, was trained in traditional roles to assume his leadership position among the Choctaw tribe. He served during a time of great difficulty for his people. He faced many challenges in a rapidly changing world. The decisions he made as a leader helped to create his public image as well as his place in history.

CURRICULAR CONNECTIONS

Mississippi Studies Framework: Competencies 1, 3 and 4

TEACHING LEVELS

Grades 7 through 12

MATERIALS AND EQUIPMENT

1.

Newspapers

2.

Paper

3.

Pen, pencil, colored pencils

4.

Scissors

5.

Glue

6.

Construction paper

7.

Computer

8.

Mississippi History Now article, “Pushmataha: Choctaw Warrior, Diplomat, and Chief”

9.

Copy of the Treaty of Doak’s Stand

OBJECTIVES

Students will:

describe Pushmataha’s accomplishments as a warrior, diplomat, and chief.

demonstrate an understanding of the lives of the Choctaw tribe, under Pushmataha’s leadership, through the creation of a newspaper appropriate to that time.

OPENING THE LESSON

Explain to the students that leaders of today as well as the past portray many roles in carrying out their responsibilities. These leaders also assume many roles in order to demonstrate their worthiness as leaders while they climb the ladder of success. Newspapers are one form of media that can help leaders create their image as a leader. Ask students to suggest ways in which newspapers can help create a leader’s image or tarnish a leader’s image. Ask the students what type of articles or news items in a newspaper might be used to address the actions of leaders (editorials, news articles, political cartoons, letters to the editor). Tell the students that they will learn how to write a news article and create other items found in a newspaper over the next several days. Tell the students that their newspapers will focus on the Choctaw Indians and the rise to power of their leader Pushmataha.

DEVELOPING THE LESSON

1.

Bring in current newspapers and distribute them to the students. Have the students describe what types of articles and information are found in the newspaper. Draw their attention to political cartoons, letters to the editor, the obituaries, and classified ads. Explain to the students the basic information covered in a news article (Who, What, Where, When, How, Why).

2.

Distribute a copy of a news article to each student. Allow the students to work with partners in order to examine the news article. Ask the students to answer the questions that most news articles should cover. Allow volunteers to share their answers with the class.

3.

Explain to the students that they will be working in groups to publish a historical newspaper. Tell students what articles or items must be in their newspapers.

Suggestions:

Obituary for Pushmataha

Want Ad for a Choctaw Chief

News Article on the Treaty of Doak’s Stand

Political Cartoon on “Messenger of Death,” or white occupation of Choctaw land in Arkansas

Letters to the Editor -- Choctaw land in Arkansas, Effect of trade with fur traders on the Choctaws, Content of the Treaty of Doak’s Stand, Pushmataha’s decision to send children to a missionary school

4.

Instruct the groups to pick an editor who will oversee the project, but emphasize that everyone will be involved in the research. The group members should divide the work fairly. The students might create their newspapers on the computer or at least type the articles and glue them to construction paper. Tell the students to create a name for their newspaper. Example: Choctaw Times, Choctaw Chronicle, Choctaw Herald.

5.

Tell the students to read the Mississippi History Now article, “Pushmataha: Warrior, Diplomat, and Chief,” before they began publication. They may complete this portion of the assignment in their groups. As they read the article, have them record the events of Pushmataha’s life on a chart in their notes. Instruct them to classify the events according to the roles Pushmataha portrayed. You may want to place the sample chart shown below on the board, as a guide for the students.

Pushmataha

Warrior

Diplomat

Chief

 

 

 

This activity can also be completed as homework the day prior to starting publication. If this is completed as homework the previous day, the students can share their answers during “Opening the Lesson.” The teacher can ask students what events might have been newsworthy about Pushmataha’s life.

CONCLUDING THE LESSON

Have the students share their newspapers with the class. Have the students exchange newspapers and determine whether the news articles contain all the necessary elements (Who, What, Where, When, Why, How). In the exchange, students can also determine whether political cartoons convey the intended message.

ASSESSMENT

Class participation

Group participation

Charts

Newspapers

EXTENDING THE LESSON

1.

Recreate the meeting between President Andrew Jackson and American Indian chiefs concerning the Treaty of Doak’s Stand and the land in Arkansas. Act out the event in front of the class.

2.

Create a memorial that might have been held by the Choctaws in Mississippi after hearing of Pushmataha’s death.

3.

Stage or plan the funeral of Pushmataha at the Congressional Cemetery and write a eulogy that might have been delivered.

4.

Research current leaders of the Choctaw tribe and compare them with Pushmataha.

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