Sometimes, historians are like detectives who piece together clues from primary sources to write stories about past events. They often use primary sources to infer, or make educated guesses, about what happened in the past. In this lesson, you will compare and contrast three different versions of Zebulon Pike's encounter with the Dakota in 1805.

In your MN Notebook or a Google doc, create a table with three columns. Label each column with one heading:

A Treaty Story

Treaty with the Sioux

A Myth

Step 1. Read only about the treaty in 1805 at A Treaty Story website. Summarize 3-5 important facts in the first column.

Step 2. Read about the Treaty with the Sioux, 1805. Summarize 3-5 important facts in the second column.

Step 3. Martin W. Case, Director of the Indian Treaty Signers Project, calls Pike's Treaty a myth. Read his version of Pike's encounter with the Dakota.

Step 4. What questions does Martin Case raise? Write these questions in the third column.

Step 5. Think pair share: How are these accounts similar? How are they different?

Step 6. Consider this: Historians learn about history from primary sources, such as documents, journals, letters, sketches, maps. What if the people who write those primary sources aren't always accurate? The Dakota passed on their history through word of mouth, rather than written language. So, we often have letters, journals, and other documents left behind by white settlers but no written evidence from Native people. How might that affect the retelling of history? How do historians learn about Native American history with other primary sources?

Step 7: Pair Share

Minnesota Studies by the Minnesota Partnership for Collaborative Curriculum is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 3.0 Unported License.