Course: hsta 255: Montana Professor Jeff Wiltse



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Course: HSTA 255: Montana

Professor Jeff Wiltse


1. Describe in a brief statement how your course addresses Indian Education for All:
Approximately one-third of the course focuses on the cultures and histories of Montana Indians. Students read James Welch’s novel Fools Crow, which provides an insightful and historically accurate portrayal of Plains Indian culture, relations between Montana Indian tribes (especially the Piegan Blackfeet and the Crow), and the affect that the presence of Americans had on Montana Indians during the 1860s and 1870s. In addition, ten course lectures focus entirely on the experiences and cultures of Montana Indians:

·First Peoples covers origin stories, the Bering land bridge migration, and early Indian cultures, such as the Paleo-Indians.

·Montana Indian Tribes and Cultures covers the different Indian peoples that occupied the land that would become Montana as of the seventeenth century.

·Montana Indians during the Century of Transformation examines the affect that the introduction of horses, guns, and smallpox had on Montana Indians during the Eighteenth century.

·Montana Indians during the Fur Trade Era examines Montana Indians’ involvement in the fur trade and their interactions with Christian missionaries during the first half of the nineteenth century.

·Treaties of the 1850s examines the terms and consequences of the three landmark treaties from the 1850s (the Fort Laramie Treaty, the Hell-Gate Treat, and the Blackfeet Treaty) agreed to between the federal government and various Montana tribes.

·Dispossessing Montana Indians details the federal government’s efforts to force Montana Indians onto increasingly smaller reservations.

·Fools Crow Discussion, in which I lead the class through a discussion and analysis of James Welch’s novel.

·Dawes Act and Indian Education examines the federal government’s assimilationist policies of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries and assesses their effects on Montana Indians.

·Indian Reorganization Act examines the Meriam Report and the “Indian New Deal,” especially the Indian Reorganization Act, and assesses the consequences that these federal Indian policies had on Montana Indians.

·Montana Indians in Modern Times examines federal Indian policies during the second half of the nineteenth century, Indian activism, and contemporary controversies over balancing resource extraction on reservations with environmental protection.

Seven additional lectures deal at least in part with Indian history, including the effects that mining and ranching had on Montana Indians during the nineteenth century and the participation of Montana Indians in World War I and World War II. In short, Montana Indians, Native American history, and federal Indian policies are extensively integrated into the course.


2. List specific examples of the ways you provide instruction regarding Indian Education for All:
As detailed in my response to question one, I lecture extensively about Indian cultures, Indian history, and federal Indian policy. My lectures are informed by the latest scholarship and provide students with both a general interpretive understanding of the topics and many supporting examples and quotes. I also have students read James Welch’s Fools Crow and lead them through a discussion and analysis of the book.
3. Describe how student performance is assessed regarding Indian Education for All:
Students are required to write an essay about James Welch’s Fools Crow. Some of the essay questions students have had to answer include:

·How would you characterize the Pikuni’s relationship with the natural world?

·How did individuals achieve status and power within the Blackfeet tribe?

·How did the presence of whites affect the Pikuni?

·Why did the Crow and the Blackfeet fight against one another?

Students are also required to write essays about the major develops in Montana Indian history based on information provided in lectures. Typical essay questions include:

·How did the lives and cultures of Montana Indians change from the Paleo-Indian period through the eighteenth century?

·How did the arrival of non-Indians in Montana during the nineteenth century affect Montana Indians?



Finally, students are required to write many short answer/ID responses on exams to names and terms important to Montana Indian history. For each response, students are required to identify the term, provide specific details about it, and explain its historical significance. Terms that I regularly test students on include, Baker Massacre, Clovis People, Indian Vaccination Act, Fort Laramie Treat, Buffalo Jumps, St. Mary’s Mission, Dawes Act, Indian Education, Meriam Report, Indian Reorganization Act, Joe Medicine Crow, Relocation Policy, Indian Self-Determination Act, and the Cheyenne Coal Wars.


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