Assimilation Lesson Plan

Written by Nicole Bihr Menard (Lakota) Lincoln (NE) Public Schools

For easier printing, download the PDF version of this lesson plan.

Football carries the pride of the Cherokee Nation Football carries the pride of the Cherokee Nation


This lesson will ask students to review sections in A Seat at the Drum and Spiral of Fire where assimilation is a predominant concern for Native people. Students will eventually be asked to pick valuable objects, symbols of beliefs, people, places, languages, religions, etc., that they feel accurately represent who they are. Students will concentrate on why these ideas/possessions/people or "items" are important to them. Then, all these "items" will be taken away, and they will be given new "items" to deal with. Students will be asked to write a letter to the editor of a newspaper of their choice stating how these "new items" have enhanced or harmed their self-esteem, economic status, family, etc. 

In this movie, members of the Eastern Band Cherokee talk about how important American football has become to community identity.

Click here to watch a video clip

Grade Level 9 - 12


Students will be able to:

  • Explain assimilation as it relates to Native American people
  • Recognize assimilation as a discrimination tool used against Native American people
  • Analyze assimilation as it relates to each student's situation in the mock assimilation trial

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