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Exploring Federal Policy About Native Americans in the Late 1800s

Resource Description

Students will examine three primary sources — two photographs of Native American youths, one before and one after their enrollment in a boarding school in 1886, and an excerpt from an 1890 report on federal policy regarding Native American assimilation — to understand the lives of young Native Americans during this time in history.

Suggested Grade Level


Approximate Time Required

45 minutes

Learning Objectives

  • Students will be able to gather information from primary sources.
  • Students will be able to explain federal post-Civil War policy for Native Americans and discuss its effects on Native American youths.

Materials Required

  • The student version of this activity, 5 pages
  • A teacher computer with Internet access and a projector to display web sites.

Activity Items

The following items are part of this activity. Items, their sources, and any relevant instructions for viewing them
online appear at the end of this teacher version.

  • Chiricahua Apache Upon Arrival at Carlisle Indian School
  • Chiricahua Apache Four Months After Arriving at Carlisle Indian School
  • Report on Indians Taxed and Indians Not Taxed in the United States (Except Alaska) at the Eleventh Census: 1890

Teacher Notes

Blooms Taxonomy

Blooms Taxonomy

Students will interpret primary sources to understand federal policy about Native Americans after the Civil War.


High School History


  • Federal Indian policy
  • Native Americans
  • Post-Civil War

Skills Taught

  • Analyzing historical photographs
  • Comparing and contrasting
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