High School Unit 3 Contemporary World Problems

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Level 1 | Level 2 | Level 3

Corresponding Videos

Contemporary Voices Along the Lewis and Clark Trail - Chapter 5

Native Homelands Along the Lewis and Clark Trail - Chapters 1, 5 - 9 (depending on tribal location)

Globalization and the Economy: The Hanford Nuclear Reservation and Its Effects on Tribal Sovereignty

Historical Era

The Present: Nation Building

STI Unit Overview

Unit Essential Question: What does the atom bomb have to do with tribal sovereignty?


Level 1 - Supporting Question 1: What is the Hanford Nuclear Reservation and who does it affect?

Students will read an article giving a brief overview of the Hanford Nuclear Reservation's effect on tribal sovereignty and summarize the impact of the Hanford Nuclear Site on stateholders.

Level 2 - Supporting Question 2: What have been the clean-up efforts at the Hanford Nuclear Reservation? Have they been enough?

Students will work in cooperative groups to read several articles about the Hanford Nuclear Reservation. After each group reads their article, students will focus on answering several general questions about each article as well as questions generated by the class. Then students will become the “expert” for their article as they report out to newly formed groups about their article. Each group will create a graphic organizer and quiz questions that the teacher can compile into a quiz to give the following day.

Level 3 - Supporting Question 3: What are Native Nations of the Pacific Northwest doing to exercise their tribal treaty rights in order to protect their homelands and people?

Students will complete their graphic organizer and use the evidence to create a claim about the role of tribal soveriegnty in the establishment and cleanup efforts of the Hanford Nuclear Reservation. Student evidence and claims will be used to complete the Humans and the Environment OSPI-developed assessment for Social Studies.


The Office of Native Education is grateful to Daniel A. Bush, faculty at South Seattle College, for giving permission to integrate and adapt resources from his case The Yakama Nation and the Cleanup of Hanford: Contested Meanings of Environmental Remediation (2014) for the revision of this unit. This case is part of the Evergreen State College’s Enduring Legacies: Native Case Studies project. Funding for this case was generously provided by the Nisqually Tribe. For other cases Native Case Studies.

STI Essential Questions

  1. How does physical geography affect Northwest tribes' culture, economy, and where they choose to settle and trade?
  2. What are the ways in which tribes respond to the threats and outside pressure to extinguish their cultures and independence?
  3. What do local tribes do to meet the challenges of reservation life? What do these tribes, as sovereign nations, do to meet the economic and cultural needs of their tribal communities?

Standards for Social Studies, English Language Arts, Environmental and Sustainability Education, and Social Emotional Learning

OSPI-Developed Assessments for Social Studies

Unit Developed By

Jerry Price
Updated by Shana Brown, July 2020

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Except where otherwise noted, "Since Time Immemorial: Tribal Sovereignty in Washington State" by Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction in partnership with the Federally Recognized Tribes in Washington State is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License. All logos are property of their respective owners.