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The Lewis and Clark Expedition of 1804–1806 was of great consequence for the United States, the future state of Oregon, and the vast numbers of Indigenous people who had been living in the American West for thousands of years. The passage of time, mythmaking, and selective interpretation have obscured or distorted both minor and major realities about the purposes of the expedition, the people involved, and its impact. In this lesson, students will explore how historical events can be viewed and interpreted differently by different people, and why some stories about historical events can dominate or exclude others. These occurrences in the historical record were often intentionally organized and supported to present a narrative that was favorable to one side over another. Students will also learn details about the Lewis and Clark Expedition that provide a fuller picture of Native American contributions to the journey and its long-term impact on Indigenous people, specifically in Oregon. This lesson can be incorporated into elementary Oregon history units and/or provided as an extension. It assumes that students are already familiar with the general outline and key people of the Lewis and Clark Expedition.
Material Type: Lesson, Lesson Plan