Process Guide: Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee Writing Discussion Groups

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Process Guide: Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee Writing Discussion Groups

  • You will be going through each of the 6 writing prompts for Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee, even though you each individually just did three.

  • Group members will be assigned roles. You will rotate roles for each question!

  • Your group will need to follow the process guide and write your responses on the poster.


  • Recorder: Write down the information the group will need on its poster

  • Timekeeper: make sure the group is on track for finishing the assignment in the allotted time (you should average about 6-8 minutes per topic)

  • Expert: If you answered the question for your assignment you are considered an expert (there may be more than one per topic, that’s ok)

  • In each box you need to write who was responsible for what role!

Let’s Begin…
First split your poster into 6 roughly equal squares

  1. Compare and contrast Sioux life on the reservations to their traditional way of life.

    1. Create a T-Chart with one side representing traditional Sioux Life and one Side representing Reservation life

    2. Experts: Share your CDs with the group for each side

    3. Other group members should add any that the experts missed, fill chart in as completely as possible!

    4. Critic: Come up with 1-2 questions that you would like to know about the topic, put them at the bottom of the chart

  1. Analyze the fairness and effectiveness of the treaty making process between Indian tribes and the U.S. government.

    1. Split the box for this question into two parts, label one “fairness” and the other “effectiveness”

    2. Experts share your CDs, and record them in the appropriate sections. If there are no experts everyone becomes one! (Group should have at least 5 CDs)

    3. Think about the effectiveness of the Treaty Making process as seen in the movie? Was it effective or not? Who was it effective for?

    4. Critic: What information about the treaty making process are you curious about that the movie does not address?

  1. The title of the film, Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee, is a reference to the massacre at Wounded Knee Creek that took place towards the end of the movie. Over 20 Medals of Honor were given to U.S. Cavalry troops for showing bravery at Wounded Knee. Describe the events that took place there. Do you think the medals given to the soldiers at Wounded Knee were deserved?

    1. Create an informal timeline (a timeline that just tells us the order the events took place in, but without specific times/dates). On that timeline summarize the events that led up to the massacre, the massacre, and the aftermath of the massacre.

    2. Have the experts share their answer for the last part of the writing prompt. Does the group agree with them? Why or why not? Recorder should write out the group’s response and rationale

    3. Critic: list 1-2 arguments in opposition of the group’s overall consensus on the issue.

  1. The main character of the film started his life as Ohiyesa, but later became Charles Eastman. Describe the process of assimilation Ohiyesa went through.

    1. Create another informal timeline describing the process of assimilation Ohiyesa went through.

    2. Experts should lead the discussion, but the others should add any details the experts forgot. Don’t let those experts get all cocky just because they’re considered experts.

    3. Critic: If you could go back in time as Ohiyesa and talk to Jacob Eastman (Ohiyesa’s father) and you could ask him/tell him 3 things, what would they be?

  1. Evaluate whether or not Ohiyesa was better off for assimilating and becoming Charles Eastman.

    1. List at least three reasons Ohiyesa was better off for assimilating, and three reasons he would have been better off jumping from the train and going back to his people.

    2. Discuss the issue as a group, vote on it. What are the results?

    3. Record CMs from the experts, do they match up with the group’s overall reaction?

    4. Critic: Why didn’t Ohiyesa jump? (other group members should help you out with this)

  1. Senator Henry Dawes was considered to be a strong “friend of the Indian” in U.S. politics. Describe his plan for how best to support Indian tribes.

    1. What were the overall goals of Senator Dawes?

    2. What were the advantages to his plan for Native Americans?

    3. What were the disadvantages to his plan for Native Americans?

    4. Critic: was this the best plan? Why? If it wasn’t what could a better plan have been?

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