Teaching Critically About Lewis and Clark: Challenging Dominant Narratives in K–12 Curriculum

By Alison Schmitke, undergraduate degree program director for the educational foundations major; Leilani Sabzalian (Alutiiq), BA '02 (education studies), MEd '03 (educational leadership), PhD '15 (critical, socio-cultural studies and education), assistant professor of Indigenous studies in education and codirector of the Sapsik'wałá (Teacher) education program; and Jeff Edmundson, MA '80 (psychology)

The Lewis and Clark Corps of Discovery is often presented as an exciting adventure story of discovery, friendship, and patriotism. However, this same period in U.S. history can be understood quite differently when viewed through an anticolonial lens and the Doctrine of Discovery. How might educators critically interrogate the assumptions that underlie this adventure story through their teaching? This book challenges dominant narratives and packaged curriculum about Lewis and Clark to support more responsible social studies instruction. The authors provide a conceptual framework, ready-to-use lesson plans, and teaching resources to address oversimplified versions of the Lewis and Clark expedition. Indigenous perspectives, along with contemporary issues, are embedded in each lesson to encourage active and critical engagement with history and the legacies of conquest those living in what is now called the United States have inherited.

Teachers College Press, 2020