nd.gov - The Official Portal for North Dakota State Government
North Dakota: Legendary. Follow the trail of legends
 
Main Page About Us Contact Us

Spirit Lake Nation - Fundamental Concepts and Discussion Questions

Quick Links: Tribal Historical Overview, Demographics,
Spirit Lake Tribal Government, Culture of the Spirit Lake People, Leaders, Contemporary Issues, Timeline

Tribal Historical Overview

Fundamental Concepts

  • Migration
  • Treaties and Treaty Making
  • Reservation
  • Boarding Schools
  • Indian Policy and Federal Legislation

Discussion Questions

  1. Where did the Dakota originate?
  2. Over what period of time did their migration occur?
  3. According to documented history, how long have the people lived in their present location?
  4. How did the Dakota record the events of their existence? For other parties?
  5. What effect did language have on the treaty negotiations process?
  6. Why were reservations created?
  7. What was the impact of boarding schools on the culture and language of the Dakota?
  8. What was the impact of federal legislation on the Dakota?

Top of Page

Demographics

Fundamental Concepts

  • Traditional Land Base
  • Subsistence vs. Development
  • Ownership in Severalty
  • Ownership in Common
  • Stewardship

Discussion Questions

  1. The traditional seasonal cycle by which North Dakota tribal people supported themselves and structured their family life was dependent upon the land. What effect did placement on a reservation and limited land base have upon the Spirit Lake people? Their lifestyle?
  2. Is the land base of the Spirit Lake Reservation sufficient size and quality to support the tribe’s needs and the needs of the people? Why or why not?
  3. Tribes were often placed in geographic areas in which the soil was not arable (suitable for farming). Upon review of soil and growing season maps, assess and report how the people adapted to their current land base.
  4. Compare and contrast how North Dakota tribal peoples and immigrants adapted to their environment.
  5. Describe the tribe’s economic infrastructure. Is it stable? Why or why not?
  6. Compare and contrast the economy of the reservation to neighboring communities and other North Dakota reservations.

Top of Page

Spirit Lake Tribal Government

Fundamental Concepts

  • Traditional Forms of Governance
  • Modern Forms of Governance
  • Self Governance
  • Sovereignty

Discussion Questions

  1. How does governance differ in traditional and modern forms of tribal government?
  2. What characteristics of limited and unlimited government apply to tribal governments? To the federal government?
  3. There are several kinds of relationships between the central government of a nation and other units of government within that nation. What are the relationships between tribal, state, and the federal government?
  4. Are tribal governments the same as municipal (city) and state governments? Discuss and report.
  5. There are alternative ways of organizing constitutional governments, representative and electoral as examples. How are tribal governments organized?
  6. Can tribal governments be defined as confederal, federal, or unitary systems of government? Why or why not?

Top of Page

Culture of the Spirit Lake People

Fundamental Concepts

  • Subsistence
  • Harmony with Nature
  • Family and Clan Structure
  • Contact with other Cultures
  • Culture in Transition

Discussion Questions

  1. What is subsistence and why was it important to native cultures?
  2. How did the environment and geography of a region influence the lifestyles and traditions of native peoples?
  3. How are lifestyles affected by changing seasons?
  4. What are some similarities and differences between native and non-native family structures?
  5. What are clans and bands, and why were/are they significant to the Dakota?
  6. What are some differences between historical and contemporary divisions of work for both native and non-native people? Your family? In the past and present?
  7. Why were native students taken from their homes and sent to boarding schools?

Top of Page

Leaders

Fundamental Concepts

  • Form of Leadership
  • Ascendancy
  • Roles of Religion in Politics
  • Hereditary Leadership
  • Styles of Leadership

Discussion Questions

  1. How were leaders chosen in historic times?
  2. How are leaders selected in contemporary times?
  3. Compare and contrast historic and contemporary leadership.
  4. What benefits were derived from traditional forms of leadership?
  5. Many native cultures believe that it is critical for their survival to maintain traditional forms of leadership. What elements are important? How do they benefit the people?

Top of Page

Contemporary Issues

Fundamental Concepts

  • Governance
  • Economic Survival
  • Cultural Survival

Discussion Questions

  1. What are the responsibilities of tribal government?
  2. What are the positive and negative impacts of tribal gaming?
  3. Why is it important to the Dakota to maintain their culture and language?
  4. What are the similarities and differences between tribal governments and municipal (city) and state governments?

Top of Page

Timeline

Fundamental Concepts

  • Pictographs
  • Winter Counts
  • Oral Tradition
  • Circadian Rhythm

Discussion Questions

  1. Historically, how did many plains tribal people record history?
  2. How are events recorded in contemporary times?
  3. How did Plains Indian recordkeeping differ from records kept by ancient societies? Immigrants? How were they similar?
  4. What is ledger art and how is it significant in recording history?
  5. Why is oral tradition crucial to cultural survival?
  6. What role does oral tradition play in maintaining culture and cultural practices?

Top of Page

Continue to Acknowledgments...