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Fundamental Concepts and Discussion Questions

Quick Links: Tribal Historical Overview, Demographics,
Tribal Government, Culture, Leaders, Contemporary Issues,
Timeline

Tribal Historical Overview

Fundamental Concepts

  • Migration
  • Creation Narratives
  • Time
  • Land Ownerships
  • Treaties and Treaty-Making
  • Reservations
  • Boarding Schools
  • Indian Policy and Federal Legislation

Discussion Questions

  1. Where did the Lakota people 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 Lakota people record the events of their existence?
  5. What is the long-term effect of the treaties made with the Lakota people? For both parties?
  6. What effect did language have on the treaty negotiations process?
  7. What are the differences and similarities between how land and property is held or owned by native and non-native peoples?
  8. Why were reservations created?
  9. What was the impact of federal legislation on native peoples?

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Demographics

Fundamental Concepts

  • Traditional Land Base
  • Subsistence vs. Development
  • Ownership vs. Severalty

Discussion Questions

  1. What were tribal communities like in the past?
  2. How have the geographic and environmental forces influenced the distribution and concentration of state and tribal populations and resources?
  3. How has the environment affected the tribal community?
  4. How is the tribal community unique and special?
  5. Where are the tribal cities located? How do they compare in size, population, business and industry, to other North Dakota communities?
  6. Do a comparative analysis of the distribution of agricultural land to native peoples and non-native peoples. Based upon data, what are the consequences of land distribution?
  7. How have native peoples adapted to their current environment? Assess and report.
  8. Compare and contrast the economy on the reservation to neighboring communities.
  9. Do the people of Standing Rock have a stable economic infrastructure (private business sector)?
  10. How long has the tribe had a stable economic infrastructure? What has been the impact on the tribal community? On neighboring communities?

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Standing Rock Tribal Government

Fundamental Concepts

  • Traditional Forms of Governance
  • Modern Forms of Governance
  • Self-Governance

Discussion Questions

  1. How does governance differ in traditional and modern forms of tribal governments?
  2. What characteristics of limited and unlimited government apply to tribal governments? To state 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 is the relationship between tribal, local, state, and the federal government?
  4. How are tribal governments the same as municipal and state governments? How do they differ?
  5. There are alternative ways of organizing constitutional governments—representation or electoral, for example. How are tribal governments organized?
  6. Can tribal governments be defined as confederation, federal, or unitary systems of governments? Why? Why not?

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Cultural Overview

Fundamental Concepts

  • Subsistence
  • Harmony with Nature
  • Family and Clan Structures
  • Impact of Boarding Schools
  • Culture in Transition

Discussion Questions

  1. What is subsistence and why was it important to native cultures?
  2. How did the environment and geographic region form 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 Lakota and Dakota people?
  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 in the present?
  7. Why were native students taken from their homes and sent to boarding schools?
  8. How would you feel if you were taken from your home and family and placed in a boarding school?

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Leaders

Fundamental Concepts

  • Forms of Leadership
  • Ascendancy
  • Role of Religion in Leadership
  • Hereditary Leadership
  • Style 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?

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Contemporary Issues

Fundamental Concepts

  • Sovereignty
  • Gaming
  • Economic Survival
  • Cultural Maintenance

Discussion Questions

  1. How has the dynamic of cultural change worked for North Dakota tribal communities?
  2. What problems do tribal communities face? How do they compare to the problems of other North Dakota communities?
  3. How has the tribal community specialized in meeting the needs of people?
  4. What are the challenges and opportunities facing tribal, local, national, and international communities today?

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Timeline

Fundamental Concepts

  • Pictographs
  • Winter counts
  • Oral Tradition

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 record-keeping differ from records kept by ancient societies? Immigrants? How were they similar?
  4. What is a winter count 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?

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