Subjects:
American Indian Studies, U.S. History, World History
Material Type:
Lesson Plan
Grades:
9, 10, 11, 12
Tags:
Childers, Hayes, Identity, Native Americans, Navajo Code Talkers, WWII, World War II, World War Two
License:
Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial Share Alike
Language:
English
Media Formats:
Downloadable docs, Text/HTML, Video

Education Standards

Native Americans in World War II

Overview

Overview / Description: 
This unit will examine the participation of Native Americans in World War II and their impact on the overall war effort. It will also look at the Native American perspective on the war and their participation. 

Guiding Questions: 
Why did Native Americans participate in WWII?
What roles did Native Americans play in WWII?  
How many Native Americans participated in WWII and what impact did they have on the overall war effort? 
In what ways did Native American participation in WWII connect to and/or change their cultural identity? 
What are some of the perspectives related to Native American participation in WWII? 

Learning goals/objectives:   

Analyze primary and secondary sources related to the topic of Native American participation in World War II. Using information gathered, construct an argument about the presence of Native Americans in World War II.
 

Overview Native Americans in WWII

Read the article at: https://www.jstor.org/stable/26304400. 


Students are divided into small reading groups. In their groups, create three spider diagrams, with the following words in the middle: identity, war participation, impact. As they read the article aloud, students should take notes on Native American identity, how Native Americans participated in WWII, and how the war/their participation impacted Native Americans and their communities. (This can be done as individuals as well.) 


After you have completed reading the text and taking the graphic organizer notes, answer the following questions (individually or as a class): 

  • What role(s) did Native Americans play in WWII? 
  • In what ways did Native American participation in the war connect to their existing cultural identities and also create change? 
  • How did WWII impact Native American culture and lives? How can this impact be seen today?  

Standards: SS. Hist3.b.h, SS.Hist2.b.h 

Read the article at: https://www.jstor.org/stable/26304400. 


Students are divided into small reading groups. In their groups, create three spider diagrams, with the following words in the middle: identity, war participation, impact. As they read the article aloud, students should take notes on Native American identity, how Native Americans participated in WWII, and how the war/their participation impacted Native Americans and their communities. (This can be done as individuals as well.) 


After you have completed reading the text and taking the graphic organizer notes, answer the following questions (individually or as a class): 

  • What role(s) did Native Americans play in WWII? 
  • In what ways did Native American participation in the war connect to their existing cultural identities and also create change? 
  • How did WWII impact Native American culture and lives? How can this impact be seen today?  

Standards: SS. Hist3.b.h, SS.Hist2.b.h 

Cornell Notes Native Americans Lecture and Research Project (Days 2-4)

Listen to the recording. Take notes on the main points from Professor Hall’s discussion about the role of Native Americans in WWII, using the Cornell Note format. 

  • https://www.supportuw.org/calendar/mohawks-in-normandy/ (article on Hall) 
  • Recording: https://www.supportuw.org/wp-content/uploads/bhs_showcase_series_john_hall.mp3  
  • Article on Cornell notes: http://lsc.cornell.edu/notes.html 

 

Students research: 

  • Choose one individual, group, or event from the recording to do further research. 
  • Create a research question. 
  • As you research, find at least three sources (one of them should be primary). 
  • Be sure to identify the author’s point of view and summarize how their point of view connects to the content of the source. 
  • After you have researched your topic, create three main points using your evidence. 
  • Write a one paragraph that summarizes your findings, based on research. 

Standards: SS.Inq1.a.h, SS.Inq3.a.h, SS.Inq4.b.h
 

Listen to the recording. Take notes on the main points from Professor Hall’s discussion about the role of Native Americans in WWII, using the Cornell Note format. 

  • https://www.supportuw.org/calendar/mohawks-in-normandy/ (article on Hall) 
  • Recording: https://www.supportuw.org/wp-content/uploads/bhs_showcase_series_john_hall.mp3  
  • Article on Cornell notes: http://lsc.cornell.edu/notes.html 

Students research: 

  • Choose one individual, group, or event from the recording to do further research. 
  • Create a research question. 
  • As you research, find at least three sources (one of them should be primary). 
  • Be sure to identify the author’s point of view and summarize how their point of view connects to the content of the source. 
  • After you have researched your topic, create three main points using your evidence. 
  • Write a one paragraph that summarizes your findings, based on research. 

Navajo Code Talker Days 5-6

https://www.archives.gov/publications/prologue/2001/winter/navajo-code-talkers.html 

Before Reading: 

  • What do you think you know about Navajo code talkers? (Create a Know, Want to know, Learned chart on the board as a class.) 
  • What do you know about Native American languages in the United States? Do you think it’s important to preserve these languages?
  • In your opinion, what role does language play in our cultural identities? What role does it play in yours?  

Reading Strategy: 
As you read the article, summarize each paragraph with one sentence. 

Discussion: 
What were some of the most important contributions of the Navajo Code talkers? How did their participation impact the overall war effort? What is the viewpoint of the author towards the Code talkers? 

Apply: 
Create a coded message using the Navajo code at the bottom of the page Your message should be to the American public (modern day), summarizing the contribution of the Code Talkers to the war. Your message should give your opinion but also take into consideration the values of our current culture. It doesn’t need to be long, but do your best to create a message using the few words provided in Navajo. 

Extend: 
Exchange messages. See if your classmate can decode your meaning. Try to decode theirs. You will critique each other’s message to the American public, giving its’ strengths, weaknesses, and historical accuracy. 

Standards: SS.Inq4.a.e, SS.Inq4.b.h 

https://www.archives.gov/publications/prologue/2001/winter/navajo-code-talkers.html 

Before Reading: 

  • What do you think you know about Navajo code talkers? (Create a Know, Want to know, Learned chart on the board as a class.) 
  • What do you know about Native American languages in the United States? Do you think it’s important to preserve these languages?
  • In your opinion, what role does language play in our cultural identities? What role does it play in yours?  

Reading Strategy: 
As you read the article, summarize each paragraph with one sentence. 

Discussion: 
What were some of the most important contributions of the Navajo Code talkers? How did their participation impact the overall war effort? What is the viewpoint of the author towards the Code talkers? 

Apply: 
Create a coded message using the Navajo code at the bottom of the page Your message should be to the American public (modern day), summarizing the contribution of the Code Talkers to the war. Your message should give your opinion but also take into consideration the values of our current culture. It doesn’t need to be long, but do your best to create a message using the few words provided in Navajo. 

Extend: 
Exchange messages. See if your classmate can decode your meaning. Try to decode theirs. You will critique each other’s message to the American public, giving its’ strengths, weaknesses, and historical accuracy. 

Standards: SS.Inq4.a.e, SS.Inq4.b.h 

Analyze Navajo Code Talkers Primary Source Day 7

https://www.archives.gov/education/lessons/code-talkers 

As a class, read the article. Use the primary source document analysis worksheet to analyze the memorandum at the end.

https://www.archives.gov/files/education/lessons/worksheets/written_document_analysis_worksheet_novice.pdf 

Standards: SS.Hist4.a.h 

https://www.archives.gov/education/lessons/code-talkers 

As a class, read the article. Use the primary source document analysis worksheet to analyze the memorandum at the end.

https://www.archives.gov/files/education/lessons/worksheets/written_document_analysis_worksheet_novice.pdf 

Standards: SS.Hist4.a.h 

Ira Hayes Primary Source Analysis Days 8-9

As a class, google “Ira Hayes.” Create a shared google doc and generate an annotated bibliography of sources connected to the question, “Who was Ira Hayes and what was his contribution to WWII?” After this, discuss what students found. 

Listen to the song, “The Ballad of Ira Hayes” by Johnny Cash, on youtube. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DjTHxf8l7Qc 

Use the worksheet for primary source analysis to interpret the song. https://www.archives.gov/files/education/lessons/worksheets/sound_recording_analysis_worksheet.pdf 

Class Discussion: 
What does this song tell us about Johnny Cash’s perspective on Ira Hayes? What was the purpose of this song? Who was the intended audience? Would Ira Hayes most likely have liked this song? How would Native Americans felt about this song? How would other white Americans have felt about this song at the time? Who’s voice is left out in this song? 

Background information if needed: http://www.arlingtoncemetery.net/irahayes.htm 

Standards: HIST4.d.m, SS.Hist4.a.h, SS.Hist4.b.h
 

As a class, google “Ira Hayes.” Create a shared google doc and generate an annotated bibliography of sources connected to the question, “Who was Ira Hayes and what was his contribution to WWII?” After this, discuss what students found. 

Listen to the song, “The Ballad of Ira Hayes” by Johnny Cash, on youtube. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DjTHxf8l7Qc 

Use the worksheet for primary source analysis to interpret the song. https://www.archives.gov/files/education/lessons/worksheets/sound_recording_analysis_worksheet.pdf 

Class Discussion: 
What does this song tell us about Johnny Cash’s perspective on Ira Hayes? What was the purpose of this song? Who was the intended audience? Would Ira Hayes most likely have liked this song? How would Native Americans felt about this song? How would other white Americans have felt about this song at the time? Who’s voice is left out in this song? 

Background information if needed: http://www.arlingtoncemetery.net/irahayes.htm 

Standards: HIST4.d.m, SS.Hist4.a.h, SS.Hist4.b.h
 

Ernest Childers Day 10

https://www.americanindianmagazine.org/story/creek-indian-wins-medal-of-honor 

Read the document. Individually or as a group, answer the following questions: Who was Childers? What was different about Native Americans than other minorities during WWII? What was Childers’ life like before the war? How did he join the war? What did he do during the war? What did he do after he returned from WWII? 

Assignment: Imagine you are Childers. Write a letter home to your mother, explaining why you chose to join the war. Use information from the article to support your claim. 

Standards: SS.Hist3.b.m, SS.Inq3.a.h 
 

https://www.americanindianmagazine.org/story/creek-indian-wins-medal-of-honor 

Read the document. Individually or as a group, answer the following questions: Who was Childers? What was different about Native Americans than other minorities during WWII? What was Childers’ life like before the war? How did he join the war? What did he do during the war? What did he do after he returned from WWII? 

Assignment: Imagine you are Childers. Write a letter home to your mother, explaining why you chose to join the war. Use information from the article to support your claim. 

Standards: SS.Hist3.b.m, SS.Inq3.a.h 

Primary Artifacts Thesis Writing Day 11

https://amhistory.si.edu/militaryhistory/collection/list.asp?sort=ObjectName&order=ASC&chunk=10&page=9&WarID=13 


Look through this collections of artifacts from the war. Find three artifacts that seem relevant to the same topic and write a thesis statement using the three artifacts to support your claims. 
 

Standards: SS.Inq3.a.h, SS.Inq3.b.h 

https://amhistory.si.edu/militaryhistory/collection/list.asp?sort=ObjectName&order=ASC&chunk=10&page=9&WarID=13 


Look through this collections of artifacts from the war. Find three artifacts that seem relevant to the same topic and write a thesis statement using the three artifacts to support your claims. 
 

Standards: SS.Inq3.a.h, SS.Inq3.b.h 

Assessment/Wrap Up Day 12

Complete the KWL Chart from the beginning of the unit. 

Assessment/Extension: 
Write a letter to the chairman of a local Native American tribe. In the letter, explain your understanding of the Native American participation in WWII. In your letter, reference your learning from at least three primary or secondary sources you have interacted with in this unit. 

Standards: SS.Inq3.a.h, SS.Hist3.b.h 
 

Complete the KWL Chart from the beginning of the unit. 

Assessment/Extension: 
Write a letter to the chairman of a local Native American tribe. In the letter, explain your understanding of the Native American participation in WWII. In your letter, reference your learning from at least three primary or secondary sources you have interacted with in this unit. 

Standards: SS.Inq3.a.h, SS.Hist3.b.h