Essential Question: What can we learn from paintings of Creek Negotiators?
Students turn and talk about a time when they were treated unfairly either at home or at school. Have them tell how they reacted. Engage students further by asking them to tell when they have had to compromise or they didn't get everything they wanted and had to be satisfied with what they did get.
Tell students that long ago a group of Creek Native Americans felt that their land was taken away unfairly, and they had to form a negotiating team to go to the government to ask to have the land returned.
Students turn and talk again to answer the questions: What is the job of a negotiating team? What happens if they fail to get the results they want?
Remind students that long ago in history, the Creek Indians had a land dispute, and they needed to negotiate with the government to have their land returned. The Creek formed a committee which became their negotiating team. The teacher should remind students that we have a primary source of this historical event in portrait form because, during the negotiator visit to Washington, an artist painted their pictures. (Students may not realize that this is the only form of pictorial documentation. There were no cameras, videos, or cell phones)
The teacher should pass out copies of portraits and assign them to small groups. Give students the opportunity to analyze and interpret what they see in the portraits. Students should describe (use inference) the clothing and what their style could possibly say about the individual native.
The teacher should provide scaffolding as the students read the biographic sketch and explain how the land was taken from the Creek.
The teacher will use portraits from the McKenney and Hall Portrait Gallery, Creek Treaty Delegation to Washington, 1825-1826. Background information can be found in "A Guide to a Selection of the Portraits", written by Dr. Kathryn Braund at Auburn.
Hand out copies or place the information on a smart board to be read aloud.
Here are excerpts from the guide:
On November 25th, 1825, President John Quincy Adams welcomed a delegation of Creek Indian headmen to the White House.
Questions to students:
Do you agree with President Adams statement that they were almost all good-looking men, dressing not, as the Cherokee entirely in our costume, but somewhat fantastically? Why do you think he was surprised when he saw the way they were dressed?
President Adams stated that their look was dark and settled gloom. What do you think that meant? Why were the Creeks there? Why did they send an entire negotiating team?
Give students a few minutes to predict and wonder. Have students turn and talk. Students should write notes in their journals or on an index card for later. The teacher may also provide a journal sheet for recording. Students should underline where they found the answer in the text if they have handouts. The teacher and students could highlight the answer on the interactive whiteboard.
Find the answer in the text:
The Native Americans suffered several tumultuous events in what are now the states of Georgia and Alabama. Tustunnuggee Hutkee (William Mcintosh), a leading warrior and chief of Coweta, had signed away millions of acres of Creek lands to Georgia, and in the process, enriched himself and his followers. This unauthorized action by McIntosh and a number of other minor chiefs was deemed treason under Creek law and the Creek Nation Council immediately repudiated the spurious treaty and sent "law menders" under Chief Menawa to execute McIntosh. McIntosh's cousin, Governor George Group of Georgia demanded that the United States enforce the terms of the treaty. The Creek National Council appointed a delegation of leading men to travel to Washington to secure peace with the United States and regain title to their land.
Teacher uses chunking method to continue discussion:
Will the team have a difficult time trying to persuade the government to return the land? Why or why not?
Give students ample time to discuss with you, write their response in their journal, or underline where their defending statement is in the text.
A journal sheet is also attached as an option for recording.
We continue to read about the representatives of the negotiating team. Remind students that they will use this information to make inferences and write persuasive statements later.
Opothle Yoholo of Tuckabatchee was the designated speaker for the group, which included representatives from both Upper and Lower Creek towns. John Ridge, the Cherokee who served as an advisor to the Creek delegates in 1825 noted that “this delegation is composed of the choice men of their Nation and as patriots are second to none in the world.”
Negotiations would drag on for months and, in the end, the Creek delegation was not successful in regaining control of their Georgia lands but did regain land claimed by Alabama with a new Treaty of Washington, ratified in 1826. The infamous McIntosh treaty of Indian Springs was repudiated and stands as the first and only Indian treaty ratified by the United States Senate that was later set aside and renegotiated.
Tell students to write down some statements that could have helped the Native American negotiating team win only a part of what they asked for.
Ask students if they think this was a fair compromise. Why or why not?
Read additional information about the Native American Negotiating Team. This tells how the meeting was preserved.
During their stay in Washington, the Creeks lodged at the Indian Queen Hotel, the most popular hotel in the city. Their chief contact with the Adams administration was the head of the Bureau of Indian Affairs, Thomas McKenney, who fell under the jurisdiction of the Secretary of War. The presence of the distinguished Creek delegation provided and unparalleled opportunity for McKenney, who, since 1821, had been developing an “archive” of Indian memorabilia and portraits of Indians who visited the federal city. The “Indian Gallery,” as McKenney’s collection of portraits came to be known, was largely the work of the famous portrait artist Charles Bird King (American, 1785- 1862). The Creeks visited King’s studio to have their portraits rendered, and each sitter was also given a small portrait.
Why are photographs, portraits, and videos important when studying historical events? Read to see if your answer agrees with what is in the passage:
When President Andrew Jackson replaced Adams in 1829, He replaced most of those associated with Adam’s administration, including McKenney. McKenney wished to use the portraits from the Indian Gallery to illustrate his forthcoming history of American Indians, he did not have easy access.
The solution that McKenney and his partner devised proved to be providential for posterity, for they hired Henry Inman, a highly regarded portrait artist, to make faithful copies of the original Charles Bird King portraits. From Inman’s oil copies, the publisher used a new method of print reproduction, lithography, to produce stunning color prints to illustrate McKenney’s now famous three-volume History of the Indian Tribes of North America. The work, coauthored by James Hall, represented a triumph of American art and technology and established American lithography as equal in quality to the nest European production.
There is no doubt that the lithographs—and Henry Inman’s oil portraits—were faithful likenesses. In a letter to the Secretary of War, McKenney praised the first lithograph produced for the book, and noted that he considered the copy, perfect; a perfect likeness of the man, who was known to me—and an exact copy of the original drawing McKenney’s History was accompanied by Inman's oil paintings, so the public could appreciate the high quality achieved by the lithographic process.
The collection of lithographs presented in the Caroline Marshall Draughon Center for the Arts & Humanities includes William McIntosh, who originally signed the Treaty of Indian Springs, as well as the majority of the 1825 Creek delegates, plus the young son of one of the delegates.
1Memoirs of John Quincy Adams, 7:62.
2 John Ridge to Col. M’Kenney, 18 January 1826, with the Creek Indians, Bureau of Negotiation of the Treaty of January 24, 1826, with the Creek Indians, Bureau of Indian A airs, RG 75 (T494).
3 Quoted in Herman J. Viola, e Indian Legacy of Charles Bird King (Washington, D.C., 1976), 69-70.
Continue or on Day 2
Assign a portrait to each student. Some students will have the same portrait and will work together to interpret from the biographic sketch the character trait that will be beneficial to the team when negotiating with the government. Students should be prepared to report to the class important facts about each portrait.
Students give important facts and opinions about the Negotiating Team.
Have students place the names with important facts and opinions on index cards. When all cards are read, place them on a board for review.
Students decide which people will become the 14 to act as the negotiating team. All other students become the representatives of the government.
Continue or Day 3
Allow time for the student negotiating teams to make presentations of persuasive arguments for returning the land back to Native Americans.
Some students will become negotiators, while others will listen and make a decision. The teacher explains that the decision was a compromise.
Teacher and students should make reasonable comments as the negotiating team make their arguments.