Middle School Unit 1C Washington State History—Medicine Creek Treaty of 1854

The Medicine Creek Treaty of 1854

Historical Era

1854 - 1889 The Treaty Era

STI Unit Overview

The Medicine Creek Treaty of 1854 unit tells the story of the Nisqually people. These six lessons teach about the life of the Nisqually people prior to contact, the attempted signing of the Medicine Creek Treaty and the adverse effects created because of conflicting ideology in decision-making that ignored the voice of the Tribe, and the continued dedication and sacrifice during the 1st Treaty War for the benefit of their people, then and now.

By Nisqually Indian Tribe: Tribal Council Resolution, under Senate Bill 5433 (2015), the Nisqually Indian Tribal Council authorizes the OSPI to make the Nisqually-specific curriculum for middle school available to educators. Materials are exclusively intended for classroom instruction and are not to be modified without permission of the Nisqually Indian Tribe.

Essential STI Questions

  1. How does physical geography affect the distribution, culture, and economic life of local tribes?
  2. What is the legal status of tribes who “negotiated” or who did not “negotiate” settlement for compensation for the loss of their sovereign homelands?
  3. What were the political, economic, and cultural forces consequential to the treaties that led to the movement of tribes from long-established homelands to reservations?
  4. What are ways in which Tribes respond to the threats and outside pressure to extinguish their cultures and independence?
  5. What do local Tribes do to meet the challenges of reservation life; and as sovereign nations, what do local Tribes do to meet the economic and cultural needs of their Tribal communities?

Essential Unit Question
How did the lack of understanding of the Nisqually People’s perspective on land lead to conflict?

Lesson 1: Culture: Nisqually Perspective
Essential Question: How did natural resources form the Nisqually People’s perspective about the area where they lived?

Lesson 2: Contact: Early Interaction
Essential Question: Was contact with English employees of the Hudson’s Bay Company beneficial or detrimental for the Nisqually People?

Lesson 3: Covet: Arrival of the Americans
Essential Question: How did the American settlers’ perspective on land impact Nisqually People?

Lesson 4: Contract: The Medicine Creek Treaty
Essential Questions: Why did the talks and the attempted signing at the Treaty meetings lead to conflict?

Lesson 5: Conflict: Nisqually People for Land and Survival
Essential Question: How can two groups have different perspectives on the same event?

Lesson 6: Conclusion: Back on the River
Essential Question: How and why were the Nisqually People able to regain land on the Nisqually River?

Social Studies, ELA, & SEL Standards

OSPI-Developed Assessment

Option 1: CBA Middle School Humans & the Environment

  • Research how the Nisqually Tribe and a different, unrelated group are impacting the environment in Western Washington State (ie. possible airport).

Option 2: CBA High School Humans & the Environment

  • Research how the Nisqually Tribe and other cooperating agencies are impacting the environment in Western Washington.

Unit Developed By

  • The previous works of Nisqually tribal member, historian, educator, and award-winning author Cecelia Carpenter.
  • Annette Bullchild: Nisqually tribal member and archivist.
  • Abbi Wonacott: educator, author, and historian.
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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.