Rethinking Michigan Indian History cover
Rethinking Michigan Indian History

Rethinking Michigan Indian History is a teaching tool that honors the Chippewa, Ottawa, and Potawatomi and the twelve federally recognized tribes of Michigan by recognizing their role and place in Michigan history—exploring what most people know (or do not know) about them.
     Each lesson includes a background narrative, a set of hands-on activities, and provides easily understood and visual resources. Rethinking Michigan Indian History explores large issues of Indian stereotypes, the narrow focus on “great” Indian men, the lack of knowledge of treaties and treaty rights, and the role of maps to mislead or distort thinking about how history unfolds and the complexities of land ownership.
     The lesson that explores Indian stereotypes identifies their existence not only in U.S. consumer culture but also in K-12 classrooms. The goal, however, is not to rebuke the consumer for having bought Big Chief Sugar or the teacher for having young students construct one-dimensional canoes, paddles, and Indians out of paper and glue but to use those activities as a demonstration of what most people know about Indians. From this point, a foundation of facts can begin to replace stereotypes in the learning process.
     Demonstrating further how popular influences can control knowledge, the lesson on “great” Indian men shows that the popular preference for biographies of famous Indian warriors (Pontiac or Tecumseh) or individual women (Pocahontas or Sacagawea) narrows an understanding of Indians to symbolic representations and issues by ignoring their ongoing culture.
     The lesson on Indian treaties and maps explains and visually shows the reason the Chippewa, Ottawa, and Potawatomi lived in Michigan in 1760 and live in Michigan today in roughly the same places. Treaties are explored in a manner that is understandable to fourth graders through adults, by showing where Indians lived, the treaty boundaries, and tribal land holdings. This lesson also shows Indian cartography concepts and how maps may be made.
     What makes Rethinking Michigan Indian History unique and important is its non-confrontational and modular approach that challenges conventional thinking and teaching practices, while at the same time advocates change. The inclusion of graphic resources, handouts, and colorful maps makes this book necessary for the teacher, student, and the general reader who is interested in Michigan Indian history.

Publication Date: August 4th, 2005
8.5 in x 11 in
Patrick Russell LeBeau is the Director of the American Indian Studies Program and is a Professor of Writing Rhetorics and American Cultures at Michigan State University, as well as author of a book of poetry, Stands Alone, Faces, and Other Poems. Dr. LeBeau is a 2004 member of the Board of Directors of the Michigan Humanities Council and is an enrolled member of the Cheyenne River Sioux Indian Reservation of South Dakota, in his father's home state. His mother is from Turtle Mountain Indian Reservation, North Dakota.

$29.95 USD
ISBN: 9780870137129

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