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Rethinking First Contact: the Effects of European
Lesson Objective
The student will combine their knowledge of Christopher Columbus with information about first contact among the Great Basin tribes
to understand the many consequences of contact between Indians and Europeans in the Great Basin.
Background Information for Teacher
All videos must be watch before starting the lesson (Total time of all videos 20 minutes). Teacher can choose to show videos one day
and do the lesson the next day. If you decide to do this, make sure you explain to the student that these videos are in preparation for
the next day's lesson. Briefly explain what they will be learning about before starting the videos.
Student Prior Knowledge
The student should have some prior knowledge of who was Christopher Columbus.
At a Glance: Utah's Indians and First Contact (Step 3)
Map of the Ancestral Lands of Utah's Indians (Step 3)
Map of European Expansion into the Great Basin (Step 3)
Video: We Shall Remain: The Navajo (Step 1)
Video: We Shall Remain: The Goshute (Step 1)
Video: We Shall Remain: The Paiute (Step 1)
Video: We Shall Remain: The Ute (Step 1)
Video: We Shall Remain: The Northwestern Shoshone (Step 1)
Blank Map of the Original Territories of Utah's Indians (Step 3)
Crayons or colored pencils
Step-by-Step Guided Lesson
Step 1: Start Video
(Tips: Interact with the video by pausing, to ask questions or discuss information viewed with student.)
Short video clips: Show videos
We Shall Remain: The Navajo video (2 min)
We Shall Remain: Goshute video (3 min)
We Shall Remain: Paiute video (1 min)
We Shall Remain: The Ute video (5 min)
We Shall Remain: Northwestern Shoshone video (3 min)

Step 2: Teach Lesson
Ask the student, What do you know about Columbus? Have a brief discussion about the story of Columbus and why he is so
Ask the student, What do you think “discovered” means? Allow the student to respond.
Point out that while people say that Columbus “discovered” America, there were already people in America with families and
communities who called it their home.
When Columbus met these first Americans, it was a moment of “first contact” for both the Indians and the Europeans. Explain that,
first contact was an exchange of cultures and ideas; you might want to briefly mention some of the foods and animals that would
have been exchanged between the Indians and the Europeans (e.g. Indians: corn, potatoes, tomatoes; Europeans: wheat, horses,
That contact changed the cultures of both the Europeans and the Indians. Explain that, for native people, this process often
led to very difficult changes, as Europeans brought diseases that the Indians had never encountered and, thus, for which
they had no immunities. In addition, European settlers often treated the Indians very badly. Point out that, while first contact
was an enormously challenging process for all Indian communities, native people survived.
Ask the student, Think about what “first contact” might have been like for the Indians living in what is now Utah?
Show them the Map of the Ancestral Lands of Utah’s Indians. Give them the blank map of Utah, and have them draw in the ancestral
territory of each tribe and fill in each of those territories with a different color. Using information in the At a Glance
, the brief histories
of each tribe, and material from the films, explain what life was like for each of Utah’s tribes.
Next, show the students the Map of European Expansion into of the Great Basin
. Have them draw in and label the routes that
explorers and settlers from Spain and the United States took through Utah.
Have them look at the ancestral Indian lands that the routes they went through and think about the Indians these explorers and
emigrants would have met.
Using material from the At a Glance
and the films, explain what these encounters were like.
This may be a difficult topic for some students, but you can emphasize that Utah’s Indians adapted and survived and that their
descendants are alive and an important part of Utah’s culture today.
Step 3: Complete the worksheet attached below.
Worksheets needed to complete the lesson
Blank states map
Step 4: Review. Start the next lesson with the game or activity attached below for review so the student can demonstrate
understanding of this lesson before moving forward.
Optional: More in depth information (online/offline)
Have the student read the material on this website to gain more knowledge about the arrival of the Europeans in America, the
Caribbean, the South Atlantic, and much more. Have a discussion with the student about the similarities and/or difference of the
Europeans arrivals at these other places.