ALEX Lesson Plan


The Negotiators - Land Of No Return

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  This lesson provided by:  
Author:Mary Boone
System: Montgomery County
School: Montgomery County Board Of Education
The event this resource created for:Alabama Department of Archives and History
  General Lesson Information  
Lesson Plan ID: 35050


The Negotiators - Land Of No Return


The lesson content is connected to Alabama Course of Study SS2010 (4) which will explain why significant leaders of the Creek War disrupted the Alabama Creek Indian Headsmen and the government. The disruption would be solved through negotiation.  The negotiating Creek Indians did not obtain full restoration of their land, however, they did accept a compromise.

This lesson was created in partnership with the Alabama Department of Archives and History.

 Associated Standards and Objectives 
Content Standard(s):
English Language Arts
ELA2015 (2015)
Grade: 3
1 ) Ask and answer questions to demonstrate understanding of a text, referring explicitly to the text as the basis for the answers. [RL.3.1]

Alabama Alternate Achievement Standards
AAS Standard:
ELA.AAS.3.1- Answer who, what, and where questions to demonstrate understanding of a story.

Social Studies
SS2010 (2010)
Grade: 3
Geographic and Historical Studies: People, Places, and Regions
11 ) Interpret various primary sources for reconstructing the past, including documents, letters, diaries, maps, and photographs.

•  Comparing maps of the past to maps of the present
Unpacked Content
Strand: History
Course Title: Living and Working Together in State and Nation
Evidence Of Student Attainment:
  • Interpret legends, stories, and songs to identify the contributions each made to the development of the cultural history of the United States.
Teacher Vocabulary:
  • interpret
  • legends
  • stories
  • songs
  • contributed
  • development
  • cultural history
  • tall tales
  • folk heroes
Students know:
  • The purpose and essential elements of legends, stories, and songs.
  • Examples of legends, stories, and songs that contributed to United States' cultural history including American Indian Legends, African American Stories, Tall Tales and stories of Folk Heroes.
  • Vocabulary: legends, stories, songs, cultural history.
Students are able to:
  • Interpret legends, stories, and songs.
  • Identify the purpose and essential elements of legends, stories, and songs.
  • Identify the contribution that specific legends, stories, and songs had on the development of cultural history of the United States.
Students understand that:
  • There are legends, stories, and songs that have contributed to the development of the cultural history of the United States.

Alabama Alternate Achievement Standards
AAS Standard:
SS.AAS.3.11- Compare documents, letters, diaries, maps, and photographs and explain how they are used to reconstruct the past.

Social Studies
SS2010 (2010)
Grade: 4
Alabama Studies
3 ) Explain the social, political, and economic impact of the War of 1812, including battles and significant leaders of the Creek War, on Alabama.

Examples: social—adoption of European culture by American Indians, opening of Alabama land for settlement

political—forced relocation of American Indians, labeling of Andrew Jackson as a hero and propelling him toward Presidency

economic—acquisition of tribal land in Alabama by the United States

•  Explaining the impact of the Trail of Tears on Alabama American Indians' lives, rights, and territories
Unpacked Content
Strand: Economics, Geography, History, Civics and Government
Course Title: Alabama Studies (Alabama)
Evidence Of Student Attainment:
  • Explain the social, political, and economic impact of the War of 1812, including battles and significant leaders of the Creek War, on Alabama.
  • Explain the impact of the Trail of Tears on Alabama American Indians' lives, rights, and territories.
Teacher Vocabulary:
  • culture
  • settlement
  • relocation
  • acquisition
  • territory
Students know:
  • Key battles of the War of 1812 that took place in Alabama including the Battle of Burnt Corn Creek, Fort Mims, the Canoe Fight, and the Battle of Horseshoe Bend.
  • Key leaders of the Creek War including Andrew Jackson, William Weatherford, Tecumseh, and Alexander McGillivray.
  • Reasons for and the impact of the Trail of Tears in Alabama.
The students will:
  • Analyze the social impact of the War of 1812 including the adoption of European culture by American Indians, opening of Alabama land for settlement.
  • Analyze the political impact of the War of 1812 including the forced relocation of American Indians.
  • Formulate an opinion of whether or not Andrew Jackson was a hero and will defend that opinion.
  • Analyze the economic impact of the War of 1812 including acquisition of tribal land in Alabama by the United States.
  • Analyze the impact of the Trail of Tears on Alabama's American Indians' lives, rights, and territories.
Students understand that:
  • The political, economic, and social decisions made by Alabama's early settlers impacted the lives of American Indians living in the territory.
Alabama Archives Resources:
Click below to access all Alabama Archives resources aligned to this standard.

Alabama Alternate Achievement Standards
AAS Standard:
SS.AAS.4.3- Explain the impact of the Trail of Tears on Alabama American Indians' lives, rights, and territories.

Local/National Standards:


Primary Learning Objective(s):

Students will be able to research the lives of Native Americans.  Students will be able to describe the lives of Native Americans who negotiated a land dispute.  Students should be able to take on the roles of the negotiators and government officials after reading and interpreting all aspects of the problem from passages included in the lesson plans.

Additional Learning Objective(s):

 Preparation Information 

Total Duration:

91 to 120 Minutes

Materials and Resources:

This is a lesson plan that does not require in-class internet access.  The school librarian will be helpful in locating resources for this lesson.  The teacher should include research time in the library.  The teacher may download portraits and biographic summary on each portrait.

Please go to the attachment section for these additional materials and resources to be used with this lesson:

Encyclopedia of Alabama, portraits, journal, rubric, Mckinney and Hall Booklet, and bibliography

Technology Resources Needed:

Devices that access the internet (optional)


Students should have knowledge of the First Americans.  Students should understand that all land was owned by Native Americans until settlers came and claimed it.  Native Americans divided the land into cultural areas.  Later, it was divided differently until it was known as the United States of America. Teachers should access paintings, stories of each painting, and biography of each person who negotiated the land dispute.  The teacher should have background knowledge of the Creek Cultural Area found in the Encyclopedia of Alabama.

In 1775, author and trader James Adair described the Creek Indians as "more powerful than any nation" in the American South. Despite the fact that they served as able political and economic partners of the colonial and early U.S. government, the Creeks suffered the same fate as their fellow southeastern tribes, and many of them were forced from their lands in the 1830s. Creek culture is kept alive in Alabama among the Poarch Creek Band.

Feb 6, 2008 - The 1826 Treaty of Washington between the United States and the Creek Nation replaced the fraudulent 1825 Treaty of Indian Springs.

The following article from the Encyclopedia of Alabama provides information about the Creeks in Alabama:





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)

During Strategy

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

After Strategy

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.

Class Activity:

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.



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Assessment Strategies

Informal Assessment:  Students turn and talk giving facts about each picture.

Informal Assessment:  Teacher and students create a chart showing portraits with names and facts to remember.

Formal Assessment:  Students match names of Creek Indians with their pictures. 

Students create persuasive arguments and make presentations to the class.  Persuasive argument should give reasons why the government should return land to Creek.

A Creek War Journal has been included for optional grading.  It can be used with persuasive writings.  Students creative writing should include the problem, solution, and personal reflections or opinions of the students.  

Change the rubric title to Creek Negotiation with United States Government or other related title of your choosing.


Students should have an opportunity to create a chart explaining who was involved in the negotiation.

Students should create a Creek Family Tree of the negotiators. 

Students should make persuasive arguments.  As representatives of the Creek, students should explain why their land should be returned to their tribe.

Students should have an opportunity to create a podcast or PowerPoint of the negotiating members' family tree, facts chart, or persuasive argument.

The persuasive arguments of students should show that they have an understanding of why the land was taken away and why the land should be returned.

The persuasive statements could be placed on a chart or students could make a podcast which would include pictures.

Give students permission to be creative without scripting everything they must do.

Suggested Reading List:

 Native American History for Kids

 Waldman, Carl, Atlas of the North American Indian, Infobase Publishing, 2009 

 Creeks in Alabama:

 Pritzker, Barry, Encyclopedia of North American Indians: Native American History, Culture, and Life, Oxford Press, 2000


Students will have pictures of each Native American and a fact phrase or sentence about each.  

Students will be able to match and have a self-check on the back of the picture.  

Students should go last when making presentations to gain support from more confident presenters.

RTI:  Allow students who need extra help to be a part of the government team.  

The government team will include the teacher as facilitator.

Students who will represent the Creeks can give persuasive statements and other students and teacher may ask questions, make comments, and agree or disagree.

View the Special Education resources for instructional guidance in providing modifications and adaptations for students with significant cognitive disabilities who qualify for the Alabama Alternate Assessment.