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Neolin and Pontiac's Rebellion
This lesson will focus on the Neolin Prophetic Vision. Students should be familiar with the roles and effects of Native Peoples with the Seven Years' War. This lesson can be used to introduce events that preceded the Paxton Boy's massacres and help students understand the context of the massacres. This lesson can be followed by a more extensive lesson on Pontiac's Rebellion and the use of Ghost River and Digital Paxton.
- Students will be able to explain the Purpose, Point of View, Context and Audience of a visual and written document.
- Students will be able to form an argument on the success of Neolin's message.
- Students will be able to explain Neolin's message.
Grade Level: 9-12 AP US History
Standards: AP US History Key Concept Outline:
- 2.1 III B - Interactions between European rivals and American Indian populations fostered both accommodation and conflict. French, Dutch, British and Spanish colonies allied with and armed American Indian groups, who frequently sought alliance with Europeans against other American Indian groups.
- 3.1 I C - After the British victory, imperial officials' attempts to prevent colonists from moving westward generated colonial opposition, while native groups sought to both continue trading with Europeans and resist the encroachments of colonists on tribal land.
- 3.3 I A - Various American Indian groups repeatedly evaluated and adjusted their alliances with Europeans, other tribes, and the U.S., seeking to limit migration of white settlers and maintain control of tribal lands and natural resources. British alliance with American Indians contributed to tensions between the U.S. and Britain.
Historical Background: Bryan Rindfleisch, "Pontiac's Rebellion."
- Henry Davenport Northrop, "Visit of Pontiac and the Indians to Major Gladwin" (1901)
- Robert Navarre, "An Account of Neolin's Prophetic Vision" (1763)
- Document Analysis Handout
- Hand out or project the image of "Visit of Pontiac and the Indians to Major Gladwin." Have students take a minute to look at the image write down what they see in it. Suggest they break it down into quadrants and look at all parts of the image. Push the students to write down more than 10 things.
- Have students share what they see in the image with a partner and then get some responses from the class.
- Then divide the class into groups of 3-4 assign each group one aspect of extended analysis of; Purpose, Audience, Context and Point of View. Give the group a couple minutes to discuss and formulate a response to their assigned extended analysis. Including why. Students should be given the date of the image ca.1760.
- Hand out the Neolin document. Based on time can use the long or shorten version. Have them read it and complete the graphic organizer important phrases portion.
- Have students compare their important phrases portion with their group.
- Then get a class response of a few.
- Have students then complete the second part critical thinking questions together.
- Have different groups share responses to different questions.
- Once students have completed get a quick sharing on questions with different groups sharing responses from different questions.
- Based on students responses discuss Pontiac's Rebellion or have a teacher lead lecture.
Assessment: Have students write a thesis statement responding to the FRQ question: To what extent was Neolin successful in achieving his vision? This can be turned in as an exit slip.
- Outline or write a full FRQ.
- Discuss different possible answers to this question.
- Come back to this question in the lead up to the War of 1812 and compare and contrast Neolin and Tenskwatawa.
One Year Later: The Black Boys of 1765
A little over a year after the Paxton massacre, Pennsylvania frontiersmen united to assert themselves over a perceived injustice. Whereas the Paxton Boys believed Conestoga Indians assisted Indian raiders during Pontiac’s War, Cumberland County frontiersmen suspected white businessmen of aiding Indian enemies.
West of the Susquehanna River in Cumberland County, at Sideling Hill, eleven men lay in wait for a pack train eighty-one horses long, laden with goods, and destined for Fort Pitt. A few days prior, Cumberland County residents pleaded with the traders to halt, wondering why fellow Pennsylvanians would send material west that would help Native Americans to continue their war effort. Robert Callendar, an Indian trader with the convoy, and his companions “made light of” the request and continued their journey (Smith, Account, 110).
According to the Philadelphia-based trading company of Baynton, Wharton, and Morgan, the pack train travelled legally under a military pass. In theory, the goods would help end Pontiac’s War by facilitating Britain’s diplomatic efforts. However, frontiersmen saw the cargo as supplying their enemies, representing “a kind of murder, and would be illegally trading at the expense of the blood and treasure of the frontiers” (Smith, Account, 110). King George III’s Proclamation of 1763 gave colonial governors the power to reopen the trade, but, by early March of 1765, Pennsylvania’s Governor Penn gave no such order.
At about one o’clock in the afternoon of March 6, 1765, James Smith and ten frontiersmen with blacked faces ordered the pack train to halt near Sideling Hill before firing upon several of the horses after the traders refused Smith’s order. As a former Indian captive, James Smith understood Native ways. Upon his return to Cumberland County in 1760, Smith also understood white ways and served in locally funded militias and in Henry Bouquet’s 1764 offensive.
Smith and his men became known as the “Black Boys” and represent another chapter in the complex relationship between frontiersmen and the Pennsylvania government regarding Native Americans.
The Paxton Boys and the Black Boys
There are similarities between the Black Boys and Paxton Boys, most notably their origins in frontier defense forces. Both groups wanted the Pennsylvania government to better provide for frontier inhabitants, and both pushed for this measure through pistol and pen. The entreaties from each of the frontier associations aimed to capture attention of and demand action from the colony’s governor. Both the Black Boys and the Paxton Boys questioned the Anglo-American relationship with Native Americans. Both groups feared Native attacks on their communities.
The Paxton’s Declaration and Remonstrance accused the Moravian and Conestoga Indians of aiding enemy Indians, while the Black Boys wanted the government to better police its own subjects to prevent Anglo-Americans from providing goods to enemies. For both groups, their appeals relied upon a shared belief in, and expectation of, government attention to frontier concerns, with the understanding that frontiersmen could take action when government failed to uphold its responsibilities.
While the Black Boys echoed the complaints of the Paxton Boys, the groups were not directly related. Importantly, the Black Boys never advocated for the murder of Native Americans. Nor did they seek out and attack peaceful Indians, an important distinction stressed by scholar Greg Dowd (203–204, 211). That is, the Black Boys focused on the actions of white colonists rather than Indians.
The Black Boys appealed across colonial borders to a diverse ethnic constituency. The composition of the Black Boys differed from Scots-Irish and Presbyterian affiliations associated with the Paxtons. John Armstrong, a Cumberland County Justice of the Peace, wrote “as to the people concern’d from all we can learn they are Irish, English, Dutch and Welch- from Potomack to the Kittatinney Hill, it’s confidently asserted there were some Virginians amongst them, others say not, but that they had made proposals of joining” (Armstrong). Samuel Llewellyn, a Marylander, later deposed that “there came some Express from Pennsylvania that there was goods going to the Indians & Desired assistance from Maryland to stop the same” (Llewelyn). Llewellyn and others traveled north to assist the Black Boys. William Smith, a Justice of the Peace and a relation of James, confirmed the presence of people from other colonies when he wrote to a Maryland official that “a great Number of Men appeared in Arms, from Pennsylvania, Maryland, & Virginia” at Fort Loudon (Smith to Shelby).
The Contest over Imperial Authority
After the attack at Sideling Hill, the traders fled to nearby Fort Loudon and the protection of a detachment of soldiers from the 42nd Highland Regiment, nicknamed the Black Watch. In contrast to the inaction of the 200 soldiers stationed in Lancaster in December 1763, Lt. Grant’s assistance to the traders escalated events (Brubaker). Grant, unaware of the cargos’ illegal nature, felt obligated to protect the traders and goods, despite his acknowledgement that the traders refused to obtain a pass from him earlier on their trip. The soldiers he sent out from Fort Loudon, in combination with some traders, seized prisoners and guns from the locals. They even captured one man in front of a Cumberland County magistrate, “without any warrant or authority” from the official (Maxwell).
The involvement of British soldiers created a second issue separate from the Black Boys’ original complaint over the cargo. The Black Boys felt that British soldiers violated Pennsylvania’s civil jurisdiction, whereas the soldiers thought the Black Boys did not respect military, and therefore imperial, authority.
Colonial Americans generally detested the use of soldiers to interfere in civil affairs and the actions of the soldiers broadened support for the Black Boys along the frontier. By March 9, just three days after the initial attack, James Smith rallied hundreds of riflemen to Fort Loudon to demand the return of the prisoners and guns. British Captain Thomas Barnsley noted of the siege force that “a great many of which had no hand in Destroying the Goods, yet Rose in a body to Rescue the Prisoners” (Barnsley).
The soldiers could reasonably argue that they acted to protect imperial authority. So, too, could the Black Boys. The traders believed their military pass provided a loophole which allowed them to move goods under the king’s authority and without the governor’s reauthorization of the trade. The soldiers respected the military pass and, following the trader’s logic, the Black Boys killed four horses and burned thousands of dollars’ worth of goods destined for imperial use at Fort Pitt. However, the Black Boys could counter that the military pass did not override the King’s Proclamation of 1763, nor did the trader’s pass empower British soldiers to capture civilians.
Unfortunately for the soldiers, few believed the goods were intended solely for diplomacy. Baynton, Wharton, and Morgan wanted to be the first firm to market after the governor formally reauthorized the Indian trade. Having a large quantity of goods at Fort Pitt before the trade re-opened ensured this goal and the trading firm informed a Cumberland County magistrate in December 1764 that they would transport goods to Fort Pitt the following spring.
General Thomas Gage and Superintendent of Indian Affairs William Johnson both believed the trading company engaged in suspicious, if not illegal activity. Gage wrote that Johnson’s subordinate, George Croghan, acted in league with the traders “contrary to orders, and contrary to the Laws of the Province” (Gage).
A few months later on the other side of the Atlantic, Thomas Penn wrote, “the Owners of them deserve the loss they have met with, for acting [so] directly contrary to the King’s Proclamation and the Laws of the Province” (Penn to Penn). When considering the initial issue, the trade goods, it is clear that it was not just the Black Boys who felt the traders erred in their actions. However, the intervention of the soldiers and the escalation of conflict turned Thomas Gage, William Johnson, John Penn, and other potential allies against the Black Boys.
The Contest for Public Opinion
Shortly after Sideling Hill, the people of Cumberland County defended their actions through a petition intended to garner a response from Governor Penn (Cumberland County Inhabitants). That petition echoes many complaints found in the Paxton’s Declaration and Remonstrance. Cumberland’s inhabitants stated the great suffering from “the incursions of the savages” and acknowledged the “tumultuous & lawless manner” in which the people assembled. Cumberland County faced Indian raids throughout the spring and summer of 1764. (In fact, in July 1764, Indian raiders killed ten children and their teacher, Enoch Brown, before killing a pregnant woman and ripping out her fetus.)
But, importantly, the petitioners demanded that the governor “interpose your Authority to stop these goods from going to the Enemy until peace by finally concluded” and “bring to punishment the persons who contrary to his Majesties royal proclamation…are concerned in this unlawful commerce with our enemies” (Cumberland County Inhabitants). The petition demonstrated an understanding of imperial law, provincial law, and a desire for justice even as it acknowledged the lawless manner in which the Black Boys operated. The petitioners admitted the Black Boys broke the law, but only after the government failed to uphold the law and stop the traders in the first place, resulting in war material traveling west and endangering the Cumberland County community.
Perhaps due to comparisons made in Philadelphia between the Black Boys with the Paxton Boys, and perhaps to prevent another march on Philadelphia, Governor Penn, Attorney General William Allen, and two members of the Provincial Council journeyed to Carlisle, the county seat of Cumberland County. Arriving in Carlisle in late March, the governor needed to offer a careful response to the events of Sideling Hill. He did not want to further antagonize the Black Boys, but he also didn’t want to provide more ammunition against his family’s proprietorship. Penn issued warrants “for such as were suspected,” but ultimately “the suspected persons had all absconded before [the sheriff] arrived in the part of the Country where they lived, so that no one was apprehended” (Penn to Gage). Once officials organized their charges and the available witnesses, a grand jury convened to hear the evidence and “tho’ al the Witnesses appeared and were examined by the Jury, it seems they were of Opinion that there was not sufficient Testimony to convict a single Person charged” (Penn to Gage). Despite the lack of convictions, Penn maintained that he did “everything on this occasion that could be done consistent w’th Law” and withdrew to Philadelphia.
The prosecutorial failure energized the Black Boys to expand their detection network and continue their conflict with the Highlander Regiment at Fort Loudon. Some of the Black Boys even removed their masks, so to speak, issuing signed passes on cargo they personally inspected. (These passes are available in the Pennsylvania Archives, 1st series, vol. 4:219-220.) An advertisement appeared in Cumberland County in May, purportedly from the Black Boys, inviting volunteers to “come to our Tavern and fill your Bellys with Liquor & your Mouth full of Swearing” (Peters Township.) Greg Dowd doubts the advertisement originated from the Black Boys, but some debate exists (210).
In any case, in early May Lt. Grant sent Sgt. Leonard McGlashan and twelve soldiers to assist traders attempting to get to Ft. Pitt. The Black Boys blocked the pack horses since they did not personally inspect the goods. The resulting firefight left Black Boy James Brown wounded. Magistrate William Smith insisted that Lt. Grant hand over Sgt. McGlashan for trial. Grant refused the offer. A few weeks later, James Smith and four others captured Lt. Grant while he was off riding in the country and left the lieutenant tied to a tree overnight. Upon reflection, Smith thought at about this time “the king’s troops, and our party, had now get entirely out of the channel of the civil law” (Smith, Account, 111).
Back in Philadelphia, Governor Penn always doubted the commitment of frontiersmen to the civil authority, and he now laid a trap. Penn announced the formal reopening of the Indian trade and set a date of June 20, 1765 (Penn Proclamation). If the Black Boys truly wanted to follow the laws of the province they would comply with the governor’s orders.
The Black Boys complied, ending their inspection network. However, the location of the guns captured in early March remained a separate and unresolved issue. In November, before the soldiers left Fort Loudon for winter quarters, James Smith gathered a few hundred people and besieged the fort. This time, the Black Boys demanded the guns and the delivery of Grant and McGlashan as prisoners. The soldiers did not acquiesce, and the Black Boys kept up a constant fire on the fort for two nights. Eventually, the Black Boys agreed to let the soldiers march away if they returned the guns. Lt. Grant obliged through a third party.
The Enduring Legacy of the Black Boys
After they received the guns, the Black Boys faded as an active group. But their objectives found subsequent supporters. A “new club” of Black Boys appeared in 1769 over the supply of “warlike stores” to Native Americans. Despite the discontinuation of either a formal or informal Black Boys association, many of the people initially drawn to the Black Boys in 1765 continued to live along the frontier and participate in the political issues of the Revolutionary era.
The Black Boys shared many grievances with the Paxtons, but the affairs played out rather differently. Both groups influenced the decisions made by the provincial government, local officials, and evaded legal punishment. However, the Paxton Boys committed, glorified, and defended the murder of Indians, while the Black Boys concerned themselves more with preventing bloodshed. In all likelihood, the Black Boys supported war against Natives, but it was not an explicit goal of their ad hoc organization. Many scholars conflate the two groups, but it is important to acknowledge their differing motivations and actions.
Petitions, legal maneuvering in the court system, and adherence to the governor’s decree reopening the trade demonstrated that the Black Boys wanted to live within the political and legal systems of Pennsylvania and that frontiersmen possessed some control over those systems. The reluctant use of arms to ensure Cumberland’s security indicates the use of a final alternative when government failed in its duty.
On the imperial side, the Black Boys’ rift with the 42nd Highland Regiment foreshadowed the American Revolution. The Black Boys resented the haughtiness of the British soldiers and found no imperial avenue of redress in which to appeal the conduct of the soldiers. In addition, the soldiers downplayed the legitimacy of Pennsylvania’s civil infrastructure in favor of imperial interests. In this case, frontiersmen found the behavior of imperial representatives, in the form of the soldiers, flawed. The pattern of interaction between the Black Boys and soldiers presaged a key divide of the American Revolution—the tension between the British government and colonial Americans over their insistence of political and legal sovereignty. Similar to the more celebrated urban, coastal colonists, many inhabitants of frontier communities also valued the protection of American rights that would inspire the revolutionary movement.
This essay is based on an article by Jay Donis,“The Black Boys and Blurred Lines: Reshaping Authority on the Pennsylvania Frontier,” Journal of Early American History, vol. 6, no. 1 (2016), 68-93.
The majority of primary sources are located in the Pennsylvania Archives (Series 1, Volume 4) and the Thomas Gage Papers at William L. Clements Library at the University of Michigan (also available on microfilm at the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission).
- Armstrong, John to George Croghan, 26 March 1765. Cadwalader Family Papers, Box 201, Folder 2, Series 4, Historical Society of Pennsylvania.
- Barnsley, Thomas to General Thomas Gage, 11 March 1765, Thomas Gage Papers, Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission, State Archives, Harrisburg, Pennsylvania.
- Brubaker, Jack. “The Aftermath of the Conestoga Massacre.” Digital Paxton, 2017.
- Cumberland County Inhabitants. “Petition to Governor Penn.” Col. Henry Bouquet Papers, 6:777-779. Full-text via Smith Rebellion 1765.
- Cutcliffe, Stephen. “Sideling Hill Affair: The Cumberland County Riots of 1765,” Western Pennsylvania Historical Magazine, 59, no. 1 (Jan. 1976), 39-53.
- Deposition of Samuel [Llewelyn], Shelby Family Papers, 1738–1862, microfilm, Filson Historical Society, Louisville, Kentucky.
- Dowd, Gregory Evans. War under Heaven: Pontiac, the Indian Nations, the British Empire. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 2002.
- Gage, Thomas to William Johnson, 15 April 1765. The Papers of Sir William Johnson, 4:717. Full-text via Smith Rebellion 1765.
- Maxwell, James. Deposition. Thomas Gage Papers, Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission, State Archives, Harrisburg, Pennsylvania.
- Penn, John. “Penn Proclamation, 4 June 1765.” The Kislak Center for Special Collections, Rare Books and Manuscripts, Mapcase AB7 P3845L2 765b.
- Penn, John to General Gage, 28 June 1765. Thomas Gage Papers, Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission, State Archives, Harrisburg, Pennsylvania.
- Penn, Thomas to Benjamin Chew, 20 July 1765. Penn Family Papers, Penn Correspondence VIII, 1763-1768, NV 218, Historical Society of Pennsylvania.
- Penn, Thomas to John Penn, June 8, 1765. Penn Family Papers, Penn Correspondence VIII, 1763-1768, NV 218, Historical Society of Pennsylvania.
- Peters Township. “Advertisement for Loyal Volunteers.” University of Pittsburgh, University Library System. Darlington Autograph Files, Box 5, Folder 86.
- Spero, Patrick. Frontier Country: The Politics of War in early Pennsylvania. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2016.
- Spero, Patrick. Frontier Rebels: The Fight for Independence in the American West, 1765-1776(New York: W.W. Norton & Company, 2018).
- Smith, James. An Account of the Remarkable Occurrences in the Life and Travels of Col. James Smith During his Captivity with the Indians, in the years 1755, ’56, ’57, ’58, and ’59. Appendix by Wm. M. Darlington. Cincinnati: The Robert Clarke Co., 1907.
- Smith, William to Evan Shelby, 1 June 1765. Reuben T. Durrett Collection, Special Collections Research Center, University of Chicago Library.
- Webster, Eleanor M. “Insurrection at Fort Loudon in 1765: Rebellion or Preservation of Peace?,” Western Pennsylvania Historical Magazine, 47, no. 2 (Apr. 1964), 125-139.
media/The Indians giving a talk - cropped.jpg
Early Encounters: Treaty Protocols and the Significance of Wampum
Like all histories, the story of the early colonial era in Eastern North America is complex. This lesson will complicate students' understandings of the power dynamics between native groups, settler colonists and European empires during the colonial period.
- Students will explain wampum, treaty protocol, and their respective significance.
- Students will interpret and think critically about historical images.
- Students will use examples from a visual source to support ideas and understandings.
- What was the significance of wampum in early colonial North America?
- What was the significance of treaty protocols in early colonial North America?
- Whose cultural values were centered in this process?
- How did various groups attempt to exercise agency and power through treaty meetings?
Ongoing Questions (if used in a unit):
- How did Native Americans and colonial representatives incorporate each other into their respective worldviews?
- When, how, and why did the power dynamics between native groups, settlers, and European empires change?
Grade Level: Grades 9-12
- Standard - 8.1.9.A: Compare patterns of continuity and change over time, applying context of events.
- Standard - 8.3.9.D: Interpret how conflict and cooperation among groups and organizations have impacted the growth and development of the U.S.
Excerpts from: Daniel Richter, Facing East From Indian Country: A Native History of Early America. Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 2003. pp. 135, 137.
At the height of its development, the treaty protocol ideally consisted of nine stages. First came a formal invitation to attend a meeting at a recognized or "prefixed" place or "council fire." This invitation, accompanied by strings or belts of wampum (Dutch colonists called the beads zewant), established a right for the hosts to set the agenda and speak first; it also obliged them to provide ritual and material hospitality for the visitors. Second was a ceremonial procession, by foot or canoe, by which the visitors arrived at the site of the council. Third was the ''At the Wood's Edge" rite, in which the hosts offered rest and comfort to visitors presumed to be tired from a long journey. Each side offered the other the "Three Bare Words" of condolence, to clear their eyes, ears, and throats of the grief-inspired rage that prevented clear communication-the rage that, if unchecked, provoked mourning wars and spiraled into endless retaliatory feuds. After at least one night's rest, the council itself began with, fourth, the seating of the delegations and, fifth, an extensive Condolence ceremony, in which tearful eyes were again ritually dried, minds and hearts cleansed of the 'bile of revenge," blood wiped "from the defiled house," graves of the dead "covered" to keep grief and revenge out of sight, clouds dispelled to allow the sun to shine, and fire kindled to further illuminate the proceedings. Sixth came a "recitation of the law ways," a rehearsal of the history of two peoples' relationships with each other, the basis of their peaceful interactions, and the way in which their forebears had taught them to behave. Almost universally, the connection was described in terms of fictive kinship; two peoples were "Uncle" and "Nephew," or "Father" and "Child," or "Brother" and "Brother," and addressed each other with the authority or deference appropriate to the power relationship inherent in such terms. The recitation of the law ways articulated ideals rather than grubby realities. Kinship terms and other names by which relationships were described served an educative function to remind participants of what their attitudes toward each other ought to be.
Only in the seventh stage, after the ritual requirements for establishing a peaceful environment had been fulfilled, could what Europeans considered the business of a treaty council--the offering of specific "propositions"--take place. To be considered valid, each "word" had to be accompanied by an appropriate gift, usually of wampum strings ("fathoms") or belts prepared specially for the occasion. "Presents among these peoples despatch all the affairs of the country," explained a French missionary who understood the process much better than Livingston. "They dry up tears; they appease anger; they open the doors of foreign countries; they deliver prisoners; they bring the dead back to life; one hardly ever speaks or answers, except by presents." Wampum gifts in particular confirmed the validity of a speaker's words in several interrelated ways. As a sacred substance, wampum underscored the importance of what was being said. As a valuable commodity, it demonstrated that the speaker was not talking only for himself or on the spur of the moment, but that he had the considered support of the kin and followers who had banded together to collect the treasured shells and have them strung. And, as carefully woven patterns of white and black beads, wampum also became a mnemonic device, allowing belts or strings to be "read" accurately both by a speaker delivering a message as instructed and by a recipient recalling promises made years before.
While propositions and wampum were offered by the hosts, visitors were to listen politely but not respond substantively until at least the next day. Hasty replies were not only disrespectful but indicated that the negotiator had not conferred with his colleagues and therefore could not be speaking with their approbation or with properly prepared wampum. Only when each of the hosts' propositions had been answered could the visitors introduce new points. The same expectations of polite listening and postponed responses applied throughout a treaty conference. Thus, as at Albany in 1679, the whole affair could last for weeks. Once the substantive dialogue finally ended, the eighth step was the affixing of marks to any documents Europeans might insist upon. The ninth step consisted of a feast and the presentation of final gifts from the hosts. Unlike symbolic wampum, these tended to be of more material value: food, cloth, tools, weapons, and, too often, liquor-all of which leaders would redistribute to their followers.
- Benjamin West, "The Indians giving a Talk to Colonel Bouquet in a Conference at a Council fire, near his Camp on the Banks of the Muskingum in North America in Octr. 1764." William Smith, An Historical Account of the Expedition Against the Ohio Indians in the year MDCCLXIV (Philadelphia, 1766).
- "The belt of wampum delivered by the Indians to William Penn at the ‘Great Treaty' under the Elm Tree at Shackamoxon in 1682" (Penn Wampum Belt).
- "Hiawatha Belt" (National Belt of the Haudenosaunee). Onondaga Nation.
- "George Washington Belt" (1794 Canandaigua Treaty Belt). Onondaga Nation.
Prior to this unit, students should already be familiar with major cultural patterns among Eastern Native American groups (daily life, work cycles, political organization, concepts kinship and reciprocity, etc.), as well as the basic events surrounding the arrival of European groups to Eastern North America.
Warm up Activity (10 minutes)
In groups of 2-3, students examine a copy of the engraving The Indians giving a Talk to Colonel Bouquet and discuss their impressions of the image. The teacher posts the following questions and asks students to pick one or two to discuss.
- What is happening in this image?
- Who do we see in this picture and what actions are taking place?
- What objects do we see in this image?
- What title would you give this image?
- Who do you think made this image and why?
- What questions do you have about this image?
Share and discuss responses as a class. Make note of comments or questions that can be returned to later. The teacher tells students that in today's class, they will dive into treaty protocol, and wampum, both of which are central in this painting.
Mini Lecture: Wampum (10 minutes)
a) Zoom in on the wampum in The Indians giving a Talk to Colonel Bouquet. Tell students that they will learn about the significance of wampum and the role it played in Eastern North America at this time.
b) Project or distribute printouts of wampum images (e.g. Penn Wampum Belt). Ideally, the teacher might share quahog shells or physical replicas of wampum with which students could interact.
c) Explain wampum and its significance for native peoples at the time/currently and that it played a role in the spiritual and political life of peoples in colonial America.
Information on this topic paraphrased from a lecture by Daniel Richter (McNeil Center of Early American Studies, August 31, 2019):
- Early European visitors thought that wampum was "money," and while it was very valuable, that wasn't quite the case.
- Wampum was a spiritually charged item, and possessing it and exchanging it showed ones' connection to spiritual power (similar to earlier Cahokian medallions, and other specialty items traded in that time).
- Wampum was also used to communicate and commemorate messages for diplomatic purposes, and giving wampum reinforced alliances and connections.
- Wampum didn't just communicate a message as a text--it was a gift that strengthened and upheld the idea of reciprocity between exchanging parties.
- As such, wampum played a crucial role in treaty talks.
- Indigenous and European groups had to decide ahead of time what they would be saying in treaty meetings, and then embedded the message in wampum strings or belts, which were made by native women.
- The native speakers in diplomatic meetings were highly trained specialists, who read the belts in a formal dialogue.
- Importantly, the wampum beads themselves carried the messages--the belt spoke, and spoke with the authority of the people and place it was from. These belts can't be read today because the messages are connected to the time and place they were from.
- Europeans also had to produce wampum belts as part of diplomatic processes.
d) Show images of various wampum belts: Penn Wampum Belt, George Washington Belt, and the Hiawatha Belt. Discuss the messages these belts may have strengthened or reinforced.
Treaty Protocol in Action (15 minutes)
a) Explain that there was a certain protocol – have a student define or look up this word for the class – when indigenous and colonial leaders met. The teacher may quote from this excerpt of Daniel Richter's Facing East from Indian Country:
Originating in the internal political practices of the Iroquois League, the protocol spread in the mid-seventeenth century to other Native groups and to the French, English and Spanish officials throughout the northeast, the Great Lakes, and the southeast, accreting along the way a variety of non-Iroquois Indian and European customs. By the early eighteenth century, treaty conferences throughout eastern North America conformed to very similar ceremonial patterns (134).
b) Tell students that they will learn about the protocol by drawing out the steps on the whiteboards or posters around the room. If you haven't already, establish norms about drawings (e.g. all drawings should respect the humanity of all people.)
If your room is equipped with whiteboards, divide them into distinct spaces and label each with a description of that step. Ideally, the teacher would do this before class or as students enter the classroom. If you don't have whiteboards, you may use large post-its or other poster paper.
Treaty Protocol Steps, as outlined in Facing East (135-137).
- Formal invitation to attend a meeting: invitation is accompanied by strings or belts of wampum.
- Ceremonial procession by foot or canoe to the site of the council.
- "A the Wood's Edge" rite: hosts offer hospitality to visitors, who are tired from their journey. Both sides give each other the "Three Bare Words" of condolence, to clear their eyes, throats and ears of unproductive emotions (rage, grief, etc.).
- Seating of the delegations.
- A Condolence ceremony: "eyes were again ritually dried, minds are cleared of the ‘bile of revenge,' blood wiped ‘from the defiled house,' graves of the dead ‘covered' to keep grief and revenge out of sight, clouds dispelled to allow the sun to shine, and fire kindled to further illuminate the proceedings."
- Recitation of "law ways:" the history of the relationship between the groups, and rationale for peaceful interactions- described as kinship and becoming family.
- Specific propositions offered and each should be accompanied by a gift, usually wampum strings or belts. Replies from each group had to wait until the next day.
- Signing documents.
- Feast and final presentation of gifts.
c) In small groups, give students 3-4 minutes to draw their step.
d) After students return to their seats, briefly walk students through each of the steps and add details as necessary. For example: For indigenous peoples, treaties were primarily ceremonies that ratified and demonstrated alliance and connection – "polishing the chain" that connected groups. The process and ritual was the most important part. It was conducted in public and many members of the community would be present to witness it.
Discussion (5 minutes)
a. In small groups, have students discuss:
- What connections can you make to your prior knowledge of Eastern North American culture and history?
- Is anything about this diplomatic process that you find surprising?
- Who has power in this process?
- Whose cultural norms are centered?
- What does this say about the dynamics between settler colonists and native peoples at this particular time?
b. If time permits, have students report out to the larger group.
Assessment and Extensions: Students will be assessed on the day's objectives through individual writing in their journals. This could be completed at the end of class, or for homework.
Prompt: Write a journal entry reflecting on today's class. It should be at least two paragraphs.
- In the first paragraph, refer back to the engraving that we saw at the beginning of class. Drawing upon your new understanding of wampum and treaty protocol, describe what may be happening in this image.
- In the second paragraph, write your personal reflections from today's class. For example, has your understanding of the engraving changed since the beginning of class? What stood out to you or surprised you? What questions do you have moving forward?
An Interview with the Paxton Boys: Procedure
Montgomery Wolf and Eleanor Andersen
Review resources available on Digital Paxton. Prior to lesson, assign Pontiac's War and the Paxton Boys as background reading. Ask students to bring a laptops or smartphones to class, and reserve communal laptops, if needed. Post learning objectives in classroom. Students should arrive with basic understanding of the Paxton massacre.
Anticipatory Set (5 min)
- Post do-now instructions, such as: "Pair-share with a neighbor about last night's reading. What happened? When did it happen? Who were the primary actors?"
- Wait two minutes to initiate sharing portion of exercise. Sits at the front of the classroom and call on students to answer questions (what/when/who) posed in the do-now.
- Read learning objectives aloud.
Teaching & Modeling & Guided Practice (25-35 min)
- Begin teaching portion of the lesson, clarifying material that students may have misunderstood in order to establish a shared understanding of the Paxton massacres. (5 min)
- Key points: The British Empire made a truce with many enemies in 1763, ending years of war (Seven Years' War). A group of Indians continued attacks in western Pennsylvania (Pontiac's rebellion). Some western settlers sought revenge, murdering a group of peaceable Indians residing on a nearby reservation (Conestoga Indiantown). Afterwards, they marched on Philadelphia with the intention to menace Indians placed under government protection, many of whom were Quakers. Benjamin Franklin and his allies convinced the mob to disband just outside of Philadelphia (Germantown) and to publish their complaints.
- Ask students, "How do historians know what happened?" If students answer, "the reading," ask, "How did the person who wrote the reading know what happened?" The correct answer is "primary sources." Define primary sources. (2-3 min)
- Distribute the assignment sheet. Explain that students will examine analyze print and visual sources from the 1760s as historians. Then, they will apply what they learn by roleplaying in a podcast interview. (2-3 min)
- Show The German Bleeds and Bears Ye Furs on the projector.
- Explain to students that this is a political cartoon sought to bring audiences over to the Paxton Boys' side. Read the bottom text aloud. Cold-call students, asking what they think the creator of the cartoon wants us to notice, see, and believe. Point out that these people feel oppressed. Ask students what else they see. Interject observations throughout the process to model engagement with primary sources. Take notes on student engagement and responses. Help students recognize figures and themes such as (but not limited to):
- Figures: Benjamin Franklin (holding the document), the Quaker (wearing broad-brimmed hat), the Scot-Irish settler (carrying the Quaker), the German settler (wearing the blindfold), and the Native American (carrying the hatchet).
- Themes: master/servant power dynamics, civilization/savagery, religious/racial identity, politics/government, oppressed/oppressors, fake news, and trust.
- Proceed when students can identify figures and themes without coaxing. (10-15 min)
- If students have trouble, repeat process with Franklin and the Quakers. Scaffold what students should notice and ask them to elaborate. (5-10 min)
Independent Work (55-65 minutes)
- Share assignment sheet with students via Google Drive.
- Call on a student to read assignment sheet aloud. Students will make a 5-10 min podcast using the primary and secondary sources assigned. Students will work in groups of three, with one Paxton supporter, one Paxton opponent, and one host. The host's job is to set the stage and question both versions of the story. Take questions. (5-10 min)
- Count students off by threes to create groups. (1-2 min)
- Students read through final two sources. Teacher circulates, checking in and helping students identify key ideas and themes (above) from sources as necessary. Students draft and record podcasts. (50-60 min)
- Students submit podcast files via Google Drive by the beginning of next class. Uncompleted work is assigned as homework.
Closure & Feedback
After grading students student assignments, the teacher meets with groups during an Independent Work session. Successful students will present a well-organized podcast with arguments that cite evidence from the primary sources. During a subsequent class on the American Revolution, connect colonial revolt against metropolitan rule in western Pennsylvania and Philadelphia to that of American colonies against Great Britain. Comment on students' participation in the modeling portion of the lesson. Solicit student opinions on the assignment for the purpose of instructional reflection.
Download a printable version of this procedure.
Pontiac's War and the Paxton Boys
Pontiac's War (1763-66), a conflict between Native Americans and the British Empire, began in the Great Lakes and Ohio Valley regions but had important ramifications for Philadelphians as panic in the Pennsylvania backcountry sent refugees to the city. The arrival of the "Paxton Boys," who were determined to seek revenge against Indians, sparked a political crisis with lasting consequences.
The immediate catalyst for the war was the French surrender of its North American territories at the end of the Seven Years' War in 1763, which left Native peoples bereft of an important ally with which to check British imperial claims on their lands. Historians in the past referred to the war as an "uprising," but the term is misleading. An uprising implies rebellion against an established authority; most Indians involved in the conflict were far beyond British imperial control. Pontiac (c. 1720-69), the Ottawa warrior whom the war is named after, was only one among many Indian leaders coordinating attacks on British forts and settlers. Pontiac's treaty with the British at Fort Ontario in 1766 ended his part in the war, but Indians east of the Mississippi continued to fight British, then American expansionism in the decades that followed.
To access Michael Goode's complete essay on "Pontiac's War and the Paxton Boys," visit the Encyclopedia of Greater Philadelphia.
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Revisiting the Massacre at Lancaster
Paul R. Clementi
Two core historical core historical thinking skills of the AP US History curriculum are properly sourcing documents and understanding change and continuity of topics over time. Students must demonstrate both skills by contextualizing and analyzing primary source documents and responding in the College Board exam. This exercise is envisioned as part of the final preparation for the exam, though it could also be used as a mid-term review or as a review at the conclusion of Period 4 (1800-1848).
The lesson first asks students to source Massacre of the Indians in Lancaster (1841). It requires they locate the image in context of both 1763 and 1841 and answer the essential question of how the attitudes towards native peoples and understanding of the incident may have changed in the intervening period. It then asks them to extrapolate this understanding by formulating their own AP short answer or essay prompt questions which they will peer-answer.
- Students will source an image by assessing the historical context, point of view of the lithographer, the lithographer's intended audience, and the intended purpose.
- Students will recall and explain the historical context of the massacre of the Conestoga.
- Students will recall and explain the historical context of the 1840s, specifically the cultural forces of Manifest Destiny, the Indian Removal Act, and antebellum reform movements.
- Students will distinguish how the social forces of the 1840s may or may not be reflected in the lithographer's point of view and intended purpose.
- Students will analyze the extent of change and continuity in attitudes of White Americans towards Native Peoples in the intervening period between 1763 and 1841.
- Students will extrapolate historical questions related to the same essential question and provide historical evidence to support analytical answers to those questions.
Grade Level: AP US History and Grades 10-12
Duration: Two 40-minute class periods or one 80-minute block.
- CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RH.11-12.1: Cite specific textual evidence to support analysis of primary and secondary sources, connecting insights gained from specific detail to an understanding of the text as a whole.
- CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RH.11-12.2: Determine the central ideas or information of a primary or secondary source; provide an accurate summary that makes clear the relationships among the key details and ideas.
- CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RH.11-12.3: Evaluate various explanations for actions or events and determine which explanation best accords with textual evidence.
- CCSS.ELA-Literacy.WH.6-8.1 (b): Support claim(s) with logical reasoning and relevant, accurate data and evidence that demonstrate an understanding of the topic or text, using credible sources.
- CCSS.ELA-Literacy.WH.11-12.1 (e): Provide a concluding statement or section that follows from or supports the argument presented.
1763 marked the end of the Seven Years' War which left the British as the dominant European power in North America. This destabilized the native peoples delicate strategy of playing the French and British off of each other diplomatically and economically contemporaneous with British policy abandonment of the gift-giving and ceremonial negotiations. Inspired by Neolin vision of a pan-nativism response, Native Peoples responded with violence in what became known as Pontiac's War. To assert royal authority over the Ohio Valley, the British crown introduced the Proclamation Act of 1763, restricting white settlement west of the Alleghanies, which was met with derision and non-compliance of white settlers. In this milieu, a group of white settlers from in central Pennsylvania attacked a group of peaceable Native People at Conestoga Indiantown, killing six and razing their homes under the pretense that they were defending against an attack on their settlements. While charged for murder, these "Paxton Boys" were not held accountable. Instead, they were hailed by other white settlers as heroes who challenged "Indian" aggression and the feckless Quaker government in Philadelphia.
Throughout the early-1800s conflicts between Native Peoples and settlers continued with the southern and western expansions of the era. Driven by Jacksonian policy, the story of Indian removal from the eastern half of the North America became the central event of the 1830s 1840s. Yet the era of the 1830-1840s also saw the emergence of the social reform movements, particularly the abolitionists. The question in sourcing the document is one of both point of view and purpose. While Massacre of the Indians in Lancaster was engraved in a period of virulent violence against Native Peoples, aspects of the image may promote a more compassionate memory of the Conestoga. This lithograph was also produced in Lancaster, where abolitionists sentiments ran strong. Sourcing of this document therefore requires students to consider these various social forces and account for change and continuity in this complicated relationship.
- James Wimer, Massacre of the Indians in Lancaster (Lancaster, 1841).
- Sourcing a Document or Image (AP US History Format)
- Will Fenton, Historical Overview
- Theda Purdue, "Indian Removal," The Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History.
- Joyce Appleby, "National Expansion and Reform," The Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History.
- Teacher frames key question: How did attitudes of white settlers change towards the native people in the period from the end of period 2 to end of period 4 of the APUSH curriculum? (3 minutes)
- Distribute copies of the Massacre of the Indians in Lancaster and the Sourcing a Document or Image Handout.
- Student complete step 1 of the Sourcing a Document worksheet. (5 minutes)
- Students complete step 2 of the Sourcing a Document worksheet. (7 minutes)
- Teacher facilitated discussion. (20 minutes)
- Survey initial responses to the key question.
- Assess understanding and recall of the historical context of Conestoga massacre.
- Socratic discussion of point of view: Who is artist? When did he engrave the image? What is his perspective on the Paxton Boys?
- Socratic discussion of audience and purpose. Who is artist trying to reach? Why?
- Assess understanding and recall historical context of publication date (1841).
- Revisit point of view/audience/purpose in light of 1840s historical context.
- Poll: Students propose theories of point of view and purpose. Take a class poll.
- Reveal research finding: The image was included Events in Indian History, authored and published by James Wimer in Lancaster, Pennsylvania. It was one of multiple reviews of "Indian" history, which were popular because of the significant discussion of Indian removal policies. It features the massacre as it probably was a key event in local history. As such, the image and book should be seen as informative—albeit problematic. While the image may project a compassionate view of defenseless Conestoga being killed, it is worth noting that the Paxton men are portrayed in the clothing of Jacksonian supporters and therefore could be perceived as endorsing a Paxtonian agenda. (10 minutes)
- Students develop their own APUSH short-answer questions based on the College Board format.
Assessment and Extensions: Students answer a question prepared by a peer.
This lesson was created during the 2019 Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History Teacher Seminar, "Native Peoples, Settlers, and European Empires in North America, 1600-1840" (July 28-August 3, 2019). You may also download a printable version of this lesson.
Murder, Theft and Silence: The Conestoga Massacre
This lesson will cover events, interpretations, and perspectives about the murder of the Conestoga Indians in 1763, the theft of their land, and ensuing pamphlet war in colonial Philadelphia. Students analyze 3 political cartoons and 4 primary source documents from 1763-64, read Ghost River: The Fall and Rise of the Conestoga, create their own political cartoon from the historical point of view of the Conestoga Indians, and research current events about Native American individuals and organizations fighting for social and economic justice.
- Why hasn't the story of the Conestoga been told from Native American perspectives?
- How do power dynamics, bias, notions of (in)justice, race relations, and colonial politics shape our understanding of this historical event?
- How would the Conestoga people have responded in the 1764 pamphlet war?
- Interpret and analyze the point of view (POV) of primary source images.
- Identify and explain key words and phrases from primary source readings.
- Draw conclusions based on textual and visual evidence.
- Collaborate with classmates to read and present historical evidence.
- Analyze historical POV by creating a political cartoon from the perspective of the Conestoga (or another Native American people).
- Identify character strengths of historical people involved in this event (ref: work of Dr. Seligman, Dr. Pawelski, and MAPP program at the University of Pennsylvania).
- Research current Native American owned/operated organizations throughout the United States working to promote social and economic justice.
Grade Level: Grades 8 and 9
Standards: Designed for Independent School in alignment with Pennsylvania State Standards.
- 5.1.8C: Analyze the principles and ideas that shaped local, Pennsylvania and National Government
- 5.1.8F: Analyze how political symbols are used by the media and leaders to influence public opinion
- 5.2.8B: Describe how citizens resolve conflicts in society and government
- 5.2.8C: Describe the role of political leadership and public service
- 5.3.8H: Describe the role of mass media on government
- 8.8.1B: Compare and contrast a historical event using multiple points of view from primary and secondary sources
William Penn's Philadelphia was grounded in Quaker ideals, evident in his relationship with Native Indian communities throughout colonial Pennsylvania. The Quaker community in Philadelphia of the early-mid 1700's wielded significant economic and political power and was directly involved in the governance of local affairs. The Treaty of Paris of 1763 (issued February of that year) concluded the North American chapter of the Seven Years' War and the Proclamation of 1763 (issued that October) infuriated British settler colonists by limiting westward expansion. After a century of contact, conquest, and economic, political, and cultural exchange, the relationship between a multitude of Native American peoples and settler colonists had grown increasingly tense and violent, as exemplified by Pontiac’s War. That December, a group of former militiamen, the Paxton Boys, murdered 20 Conestoga Indians to express their disapproval of the Quaker dominated-government, to make a political statement about their beliefs about race relations, and to seize their land. Following the massacre, a massive public debate unfolded (the 1764 pamphlet war) through more printed materials published than any time prior (to 1763). Those pamphlets and political cartoons speak to priorities of colonists, but largely neglect the stories of the Conestoga. By March 1764, the land previously inhabited by Conestoga people was already being claimed by relations to and beneficiaries of the massacres.
Digital Paxton Materials (for projection)
- Franklin and The Quakers
- An Indian Squaw King Wampum Spies
- The Paxton Expedition
- John Penn Proclamation, December 22, 1763
- John Penn Proclamation June 4, 1765
- Jacob Whistler Letter to William Peters March 12, 1764
- Jacob Whistler Letter to William Peters April 9, 1764
Source Materials and Excerpts (optional handout)
Graphic organizers for image analysis and document analysis
Blank 16 x 11 paper, markers, pencils, paint, art supplies, and color printer
Procedure, Assessment, and Extensions:
This lesson asks students to analyze three primary source images (political cartoons) about the Paxton massacres; jigsaw 4 primary source documents and report out to the group; read excerpts of Ghost River and grapple with historical POV by creating a Conestoga response to the propaganda produced by non-Native American authors. Lastly, students will research and select a current event around similar theme (e.g. violence towards Native American peoples, absence of justice, resilience in the face of atrocities) and identify contemporary organizations, businesses, Native American communities, and/or legislation that seeks to protect and/or celebrate Native Americans histories (e.g. Indian Country Today, Native American Indian Policy Center, Native American Art Council).
Step 1: Students begin by discussing the 3 political cartoons. Possible prompting questions:
- Who is present and who is not?
- Whose story (or point of view) is told or omitted? What implications does this have?
- What adjectives would you use to describe what you see?
- How are women portrayed in these images?
Step 2: After preliminary analysis and discussion, students perform jigsaw activity. Reading excerpts from 4 primary sources in groups of 4. Students should make marginal notes and/or annotations, discuss POV, and identify key words and phrases. Prompting questions:
- Do the primary source readings align with their interpretations of the political cartoons?
- Whose story is told?
- Is it accurate?
Step 3: Students read aloud excerpts of Ghost River that give voice to the Conestoga perspective (e.g. pages 11-14, 29-37, and 50-60), acknowledging their responsibility to integrate the voices and experiences of those who have been excluded from historical narratives. (For clarification, teacher may share guidelines for interpreting political cartoons from Eastern Illinois University.) Students are encouraged to recognize the courage, strength, and resilience of Native Americans who have endured hundreds of years of genocide and institutional racism, to understand the multitude of Native Americans living today, and to deconstruct negative and inaccurate stereotypes.
Given that Conestoga voices are largely absent from historical records, students will offer their own counter arguments by creating a political cartoon from the Conestoga or indigenous POV (similar to those they analyzed in step 1). The teacher provides supplies (16 x 11 paper, colored pencils, markers, rulers, paints, and color printing for those using digital media). Students sketch, paint, or use digital images (with proper citations) and share their work via Google Classroom and/or gallery walk. Students use Padlet to ask questions, give peer feedback, and make observations about each other's work. Prompting questions:
- How do these modern cartoons differ from the historical pamphlets that circulated in Philadelphia in 1764?
- What adjectives would you use to describe the images?
Step 4: Students research and report on a current event that parallels the events of the Conestoga massacres and post 2-3 sentence justifications to Google Classroom or similar platform. Current events may concern violence, trauma, injustice, physical/mental health issues, (mis)treatment of and violence against Native women, or idea that silence is compliance by majority and politicians. Ideally, they will engage in conversation about Native American courage, strength, and resilience. Teacher should encourage students to rely upon Native American sources such as Indian Country Today.
Assessment and Extensions:
- Graded graphic organizer for primary source documentation jigsaw
- Graded political cartoon
- Graded homework grade for current event analysis
- Graded participation for level of engagement and depth of contributions to discussions
- Ungraded Student Reflection
This lesson was created during the 2019 Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History Teacher Seminar, "Native Peoples, Settlers, and European Empires in North America, 1600-1840" (July 28-August 3, 2019). You may also download a printable version of this lesson.
Which Pennsylvania? Assignment
You have already observed two competing versions of the story of Pennsylvania. By now you should be familiar with the story painted by artist Benjamin West in Penn's Treaty with the Indians, as well as the story documented by historian Kevin Kenny in Peaceable Kingdom Lost. You will now read an excerpt from a contemporaneous, eighteenth-century printed account written by Benjamin Franklin. Afterwards, you will answer the following reflection questions.
- Read and the assigned secondary and primary sources.
- Answer the following reflection questions.
- Submit your responses via Google Drive.
- What does the painting suggest about life in eighteenth-century Pennsylvania? Who do you see represented? What is happening?
- What does Benjamin Franklin's narrative suggest about life in eighteenth century Pennsylvania? What happens in his narrative? Who appears in his narrative? Does this square with the article?
- How do these two sources differ in terms of content and tone? How did you feel about the experience of “reading” both the painting and the narrative?
- Which of these stories were you more familiar with before class today? Why do you think that is? Reflect on the Do-Now.
- Why do you think the painting was commissioned? What story does it tell about the history of Pennsylvania? Feel free to speculate.
- Try to answer the prior question by doing some light research. Start by finding out more about Benjamin West & Benjamin Franklin. Feel free to use Google. (Library, museum, and university websites tend to contain the most trusted information.)
Download a printable version of this assignment.
A Template for Colonization
The Northwest Ordinance (1787) resolved the tension between democratic representation and westward colonization, in favor of both, but at the expense of native sovereignty. The territory was carved out of the trans-Appalachian west, including territories contested by the Paxtons. As those territories secured statehood, they were admitted with equal representation, on the same constitutional footing as the original colonies. By the same token, the Northwest Ordinance formalized the dispossession of native peoples residing in those territories and provided a template for subsequent colonization.
Daniel Paterson, Cantonment of His Majesty’s Forces in N. America (New York, 1766).Following the Treaty of Paris and the end of the Seven Years’ War, the British government issued the Royal Proclamation of 1763, which largely affirmed the territorial boundaries of the Treaty of Easton (1758). This 1766 map reflects those boundaries, designating the trans-Appalachian west “Reserved for the Indians.”
Mathew Carey. Plat of the Seven Ranges of Townships being Part of the Territory of the United States N.W. of the River Ohio (Philadelphia, 1814).Matthew Carey’s atlas illustrates how the territories northwest of the Ohio River were incorporated into the United States following the passage of the Northwest Ordinance. The grid is designed to facilitate the public and private sale of those lands.
The Friendly Association, Message to the Delaware Indians (Philadelphia, August 6, 1772).Upon learning that the Delaware had set out to “settle in a Country very distant,” a Friendly Association writer fondly recollects their longstanding friendship. The letter ends with a promise of money for resettlement.
Your Friends in Philadelphia often remember the old friendship, which was established between your fathers & ours & hath been maintained between you & us at all times, and even when thick Clouds hung over our heads & it was so dark we could scarce see each other...hold fast the Chain of Friendship
Return to the beginning of the digital companion.
Assessment and Extensions
- Collaborative Poster
- Gallery Walk / Exit Ticket
- Historical Marker
Collaborative Poster (Groups)
Materials include chart paper and 4 color markers. Students work in teams of 4. Each team will create a poster to address ONE essential question and support their argument.
- How might a people survive and grow from evil and injustice?
- Why are multiple voices and perspectives important when learning about history?
- Should frontiers or borderlands be walls to keep people out or place for people to meet?
- Is history complicated? Is violence simple? (to paraphrase Ghost River)
Each team member will use one color as evidence of their contribution to the poster.
- Write the essential question in the center of the poster.
- Make a claim that answers the question. Put the claim under the question
- Include evidence to support the claim. Include: 1 quote; 2 original sentences; and 1 symbol to answer the question.
- Each team member will share why they selected the question (e.g. why the question is important to them) when they present their poster to the class. Each student will present what they contributed to the poster.
Gallery Walk / Exit Ticket (Individuals)
Students will display their posters. Ask students to look for common claims and unique evidence as they walk around and read the posters. (Provide students with paper to record their findings.)
Individually, students will complete an exit ticket:
- Common claims include…
- Unique evidence is…
- After looking at the other posters, I will keep / change my claim / evidence because…
Historical Marker (Groups)
Review the Pennsylvania historical marker for the "Conestoga Indian Town." Rewrite the marker based on what you learned from Ghost River.
Create 3 markers:
- What happened in 1763?
- What is happening to Native Peoples after 1763?
- What are Native Peoples doing today?
In 2013, on the 250th anniversary, the event was commemorated. In Lancaster, PA, an additional historical marker was created, reading:
Students may submit your revised historical marker - or make suggestions for a new historical marker - to the Pennsylvania. Students may submit suggestions for new historical markers to state of Pennsylvania.
The Lancaster jail was located a half block to the north from 1753 to 1851. The last remaining Conestoga Indians were held here in protective custody in 1763. They were killed by a vigilante group, the Paxton Boys. No arrests were made.