digital lesson

American Indian Removal: What Does It Mean to Remove a People?

This online lesson provides perspectives from Native American community members, documents, maps, images, and activities to help students and teachers understand an important and difficult chapter in United States history. Explore the vast scope of removal and its effects on Native Nations.

Resource Information

grades   7 8 9 10 11 12
Cherokee, Eastern Band of Cherokee, Kickapoo, Muscogee (Creek), Potawatomi, Seminole, Shawnee
Geography, Government and Civics, History, Social Studies
Eastern Woodlands, North America, Northeast, Southeast
Indian, American Indian Removal, Osceola, Andrew Jackson, Treaties, treaty, Trail of Tears, John Ross, Menominee, Catahecassa, Black Hoof
Essential Understandings More Close

1: American Indian Cultures
Culture is a result of human socialization. People acquire knowledge and values by interacting with other people through common language, place, and community. In the Americas, there is vast cultural diversity among more than 2,000 tribal groups. Tribes have unique cultures and ways of life that span history from time immemorial to the present day.

2: Time, Continuity, and Change
Indigenous people of the Americas shaped life in the Western Hemisphere for millennia. After contact, American Indians and the events involving them greatly influenced the histories of the European colonies and the modern nations of North, Central, and South America. Today, this influence continues to play significant roles in many aspects of political, legal, cultural, environmental, and economic issues. To understand the history and cultures of the Americas requires understanding American Indian history from Indian perspectives.

3: People, Places, and Environments
For thousands of years, indigenous people have studied, managed, honored, and thrived in their homelands. These foundations continue to influence American Indian relationships and interactions with the land today.

9: Global Connections
American Indians have always engaged in the world beyond the immediacy of their own communities. For millennia, indigenous people of North America exchanged and traded ideas, goods, technologies, and arts with other tribal nations, near and far. Global connections expanded and intensified after contact with Europeans. American Indian foods, technologies, wealth, and labor contributed to the development of the modern world.


Academic Standards More Close

College, Career, & Civic Life–C3 Framework for Social Studies State Standards

Explain how a question represents key ideas in the field.

Examine the origins, purposes, and impact of constitutions, laws, treaties, and international agreements.

Apply civic virtues and democratic principles in school and community settings.

Explain how physical and human characteristics of places and regions are connected to human identities and cultures.

Analyze connections among events and developments in broader historical contexts.

Use questions generated about individuals and groups to analyze why they, and the developments they shaped, are seen as historically significant.

Analyze multiple factors that influenced the perspectives of people during different historical eras.

Organize applicable evidence into a coherent argument about the past.

Gather relevant information from multiple sources while using the origin, authority, structure, context, and corroborative value of the sources to guide the selection.

Identify evidence that draws information from multiple sources to support claims, noting evidentiary limitations.

Construct arguments using claims and evidence from multiple sources, while acknowledging the strengths and limitations of the arguments.

Construct explanations using reasoning, correct sequence, examples, and details with relevant information and data, while acknowledging the strengths and weaknesses of the explanations.

Critique arguments for credibility.

Common Core State Standards

Prepare for and participate effectively in a range of conversations and collaborations with diverse partners, building on others' ideas and expressing their own clearly and persuasively.

Integrate and evaluate information presented in diverse media and formats, including visually, quantitatively, and orally.

Present information, findings, and supporting evidence such that listeners can follow the line of reasoning and the organization, development, and style are appropriate to task, purpose, and audience.

Read closely to determine what the text says explicitly and to make logical inferences from it; cite specific textual evidence when writing or speaking to support conclusions drawn from the text.

Determine central ideas or themes of a text and analyze their development; summarize the key supporting details and ideas.

Interpret words and phrases as they are used in a text, including determining technical, connotative, and figurative meanings, and analyze how specific word choices shape meaning or tone.

Assess how point of view or purpose shapes the content and style of a text.

Integrate and evaluate content presented in diverse media and formats, including visually and quantitatively, as well as in words.

Write arguments to support claims in an analysis of substantive topics or texts using valid reasoning and relevant and sufficient evidence.

Write informative/explanatory texts to examine and convey complex ideas and information clearly and accurately through the effective selection, organization, and analysis of content.

Conduct short as well as more sustained research projects based on focused questions, demonstrating understanding of the subject under investigation.

Draw evidence from literary or informational texts to support analysis, reflection, and research.

National Curriculum Standards for Social Studies (High School)–National Council for the Social Studies

I. Culture.
Processes–Interpret patterns of behavior reflecting values and attitudes that contribute or pose obstacles to cross-cultural understanding.

II. Time, Continuity, and Change.
Processes–Research and analyze past periods, events, and recurring issues using a variety of primary sources (e.g., documents, letters, artifacts, and testimony), as well as secondary sources.

III. People, Places, and Environments.
Processes–Provide opportunities for learners to examine, interpret, and analyze interactions of human beings and their physical environments, and to observe and analyze social and economic effects of environmental changes, both positive and negative.

IX. Global Connections.
Knowledge–Global connections may be of various types (e.g., cultural exchange, trade, political, economic, or travel).

National Geography Standards

Geography Standard 6
How culture and experience influence people's perceptions of places and regions.
1. People's different perceptions of places and regions are influenced by their life experiences.
2. Perceptions of places and regions change by incorporating multiple direct and indirect experiences.

Geography Standard 9
The characteristics, distribution, and migration pattern of human populations on Earth's surface.
3. Migration: There are multiple causes and effects of migration.

  • Identify and describe examples of involuntary versus voluntary migrations.
  • Identify and explain the role of push factors as reasons for migration.

Geography Standard 13
How the forces of cooperation and conflict among people influence the division and control of the Earth's surface.
2. Cooperation: Countries and organizations cooperate through treaties, laws, and agreements to manage resources, maintain the environment, and mediate disputes.

  • Conflicting territorial claims can erupt over resources, land use, and ethnic and national identities.

Geography Standard 17
How to apply geography to interpret the past.
1. Using Geography to Interpret the Past: A historical event is influenced by the geographic context (human and physical characteristics of places and environments) in which it occurred.
3. Perceptions of Geographic Contexts: Historical events were influenced by people's percpetions of places, regions, and environments.

  • Explain how geographic perceptions impacted decisions of and actions by an individual, group or nation (e.g.: the perception of land uses and its values leading to the creation and later dissolution of the Indian Territory in the United States)