Subject: Social Studies/Language Arts

Grade: 9-12

Topic: Learning about Apsáalooke elders

Content: After exploring the internet and library students will read about Apsáalooke elders and their history. Students will then conduct interviews with elders in their own family or community and write about their lives.

Goals: Students will learn about cultural differences among the elderly in Montana.


Social Studies Standard 1: Students access, synthesize, and evaluate information to communicate and apply social studies knowledge to real world situations.

Social Studies Standard 4: Students demonstrate an understanding of the effects of time, continuity, and change on historical and future perspectives and relationships.

Essential Understanding 1: There is great diversity among the 12 tribal Nations of Montana in their languages, cultures, histories and governments. Each Nation has a distinct and unique cultural heritage that contributes to modern Montana.

Essential Understanding 2: There is great diversity among individual American Indians as identity is developed, defined and redefined by entities, organizations and people. A continuum of Indian identity, unique to each individual, ranges from assimilated to traditional. There is no generic American Indian.

Essential Understanding 3: The ideologies of Native traditional beliefs and spirituality persist into modern day life as tribal cultures, traditions, and languages are still practiced by many American Indian people and are incorporated into how tribes govern and manage their affairs. Additionally, each tribe has its own oral histories, which are as valid as written histories. These histories pre-date the “discovery” of North America.

Essential Understanding 6: History is a story most often related through the subjective experience of the teller. With the inclusion of more and varied voices, histories are being rediscovered and revised. History told from an Indian perspective frequently conflicts with the stories mainstream historians tell.

Objectives: After completing this lesson students will have a better understanding of the differences in the lives of the elderly in Montana.

Materials: Lesson plan, Internet access, library access, and possibly recorders for student interviews.

Introduction: Students will research the lives of Apsáalooke elders on the Internet and through their local library. Later students will look at the lives of elders in their own family or community. In class discussion students may note what similarities and disparities lie in the lives of Apsáalooke elders and those of other elderly Montanans.

Development: Students will learn more about their own family while gaining knowledge about Apsáalooke elders and their lives.

Practice: Students will research Apsáalooke elder’s lives on the Internet and in the library. Then students will compile a list of questions to ask when they interview a family or community elder. Based on their own research students will certainly be curious about the similarities and differences in lifestyle among classmates as well as cultural differences. A classroom discussion should take place. Some students will have interviewed elders who did not grow up in Montana--how was their life different? What was similar and different about going to school? Getting to school? How people managed during hard times? Discussion may also address the differences in Montana today and Montana 50 or so years ago. A good list of names to search for includes: Joseph Medicine Crow, Robert Yellowtail, Tommy Yellowtail, Alma Hogan Snell, Agnes Yellowtail Deernose, Winona Plenty Hoops.

Checking for Understanding/Evaluation: Students will write reports regarding information gathered about their chosen Apsáalooke elder, and about the individual they interviewed.

Closure: Students will discuss the cultural differences and similarities among the elderly they research.

Good Interview questions: