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Teacher's Guide

Related Resources:

Lost Bird of Wounded Knee Late in the 19th century, a Lakota child survived a massacre and was adopted by a prominent white couple, only to endure a life of racism, abuse and poverty. Her poignant story is told in Lost Bird Of Wounded Knee. The program is based on the acclaimed book, Lost Bird of Wounded Knee: Spirit of the Lakota, by Renee Sansom Flood.

Lakota Land: Stories of the Pine Ridge Reservation (Produced by Oglala Lakota College)

Additional Native American Studies Resources

Things To Do

1. Print out the guided notes and distribute to class.

2. Watch Dakota Pathways Episode #20 and have the students complete the guided notes.

3. Go online and complete the “Activity” (word search) and “Challenge” quiz.

4. Student glossary included.

5. There is a list of related links that would be helpful for student research projects.

6. Print out the crossword puzzle and distribute to class.
7. Class Activity – Reality Check

8. Standards

1. Guided Notes

“Guided Notes” - Student (PDF)
“Guided Notes” - Teacher (PDF)

2. Episode #20

Watch the Video Stream.

3. Online games

a. Have the students access the main page of Dakota Pathways. The word search activity is found by clicking “Activity”. (Answer key for word search.)

b. Have the students access the main page of Dakota Pathways. The online quiz is found by clicking “Challenge”.

4. Glossary

Have the students access the main page of Dakota Pathways. We have included a student glossary.

5. Links

We have included an extensive list of related sites. We preview each related site looking for adult content. Unfortunately, we cannot find all of the inappropriate material on an individual site. We include links we feel may be of use in the education setting. Each site has individual rights and disclaimers you must be aware of. Please call us Toll Free at 1-800-456-0766 if you find any questionable content and we will remove it. If we have unintentionally linked to your site and we are not allowed to please contact us at 1-800-456-0766 and we will remove the link. Thank you.

6. Crossword Puzzle

The students may use the vocabulary words and definitions for the crossword puzzle if they need help.

Crossword - Blank (PDF)
Crossword - Solved (PDF)

7. Class Activity – Reality Check


Today’s students are exposed to media coverage like never before. Many times the world is aware of someone’s death before the immediate family even knows. Nightly news programs are saturated with reports of human deaths at home and abroad. Just within the last 2 weeks, news stations across the country reported that 12 miners had died in the Sago Mine disaster, hundreds of civilians were killed in Iraq and innocent people were murdered in the United States.

The number of Americans killed in the Iraq War has superseded 2000, over 200,000 were killed in the Asian Tsunami of 2004, and over 3,000 were killed in the 9/11 attacks. The National Center for Health Statistics reported 2,443,387 deaths in the United States during 2000. These are just a few examples of our exposure to the common occurrence of death. Video games also subject students to death everyday. Millions of deaths occur on video games every day.

Children and adults exposed to repeated violence and death can become immune and unaware of its importance. I find it hard to imagine how one hundred people dying could mean anything to me if I was killing thousands of people a day on video games or seeing deaths every night on the news.

The following activity is designed to rejuvenate the reality of death. Hopefully your students will increase their appreciation of life and have a better understanding of death. They will also remember and have a better understanding of the horrible events of the Wounded Knee Massacre of 1890.


Phone book (1 for every 3 students)
South Dakota Official Highway Map (1 for every 3 students)
Possible materials (your preference)
     Plywood / poster board – student would need to bring
     Chicken wire – (maybe complete this part at home)
     Staple gun – (maybe complete this part at home)
     Glue (white)
     Tempera paint
     Newspaper or scratch paper
     Corn/rocks/beans/beads (other small items)
     Grass / small trees / twigs / braches

Note: Times may vary depending on your class size.
This may be a great outdoor project to reduce clean up time.
This may be assigned as a home project. (Great family project)


In class day 1: (50 minutes)

     -The students should view Dakota Pathways #20: A Dark Day
     -Use the contents of the video to visit with your students about the events that took place on December 29th, 1890. For the following project I suggest concentrating on the importance of the 1890 date in relationship to other South Dakota events. Events leading up to the massacre are provided on the included timeline (“Activity” section).
     -I would also concentrate on the number of unnecessary casualties that occurred during the massacre. Eighty-four Minneconjou men, 44 women, and 18 children died that day. Thirty-one Calvary soldiers were also killed. A total of 177 people died that horrible day. The students need to understand the importance and reality of these deaths.
     - I have a few suggestions to get the students talking and thinking.

1. South Dakota Official Highway Maps have a chart listing the population of cities and towns in South Dakota. It is a reality check to look at the populations of the towns in comparison to the number of people killed at The Wounded Knee Massacre. Over 120 towns have populations less than the 177.

Maps can be obtained from the state. I would use the same maps for a few years to reduce the total number of new maps required for your class on a yearly basis. The information may be a little outdated, but the message will be the same. Maps can be requested from the Office of Tourism at (605) 773-3301.

A South Dakota map can be viewed online.

2. A phone book also works well. Have the students look up your town in the phone book. Then look through all of the listings and imagine that 177 of them have been removed.

3. This activity also works great for houses or trees in a town. Take a walk with your students and count houses or trees. Keep walking until you have counted 177. Then turn around and imagine all of the trees or houses you have counted are gone. Many examples like these can be used to reinforce the importance of the tragic deaths.

In class day 2-4 (50 minutes)
The students will each construct a three-dimensional topographical model of the Wounded Knee Massacre site. The model should be constructed on a piece of plywood. The contours of the valley surrounding Wounded Knee Creek can be constructed using chicken wire or crumpled pieces of paper. The chicken wire should be secured using a staple gun. I suggest having the parents help with this step at home. Crumpled pieces of paper can also be glued or stapled to the board to produce the desired contours.

4. The following site includes a map of Wounded Knee.

  – Topozone Maps

Tear newspaper into strips
Mix glue and water (¼ glue with ¾ water)
Apply strips over constructed contours – dry time
Complete model (paint / grass / trees / small branches / etc.) -welcome creativity

The following is the most important step. Each of the 177 deaths that occurred at the Wounded Knee Massacre site must be represented. Different types of beans, colored rice, corn, etc should be selected by the students to represent each group below. The exact number of each must be glued on the model. A key should be made in the corner which shows the flowing information.

Item (Glue to Key) Group Number of Deaths
Yellow corn Indian Men 84
Purple corn Indian Women 44
Read corn Indian Children 18
Colored beans Calvary Soldiers 31

This is an educational activity that your class will never forget! Having to glue the 177 separate items onto the model will open the eyes of your students and reinforce the fact that the massacre was a tragedy in history that should never be forgotten.

Wounded Knee Massacre Site Model (Photo Album)
The photographed Wounded Knee Massacre site model was constructed using a 2’ X 2’ X 1” piece of plywood. Brown grocery bags were stapled to the wood to produce the contours. Strips of newspaper were attached to the brown grocery bags using the glue mixture indicated in the lab. The following model was decorated using spray paint (huffing concern – tempera paint may be a better choice) and pieces of grass. The key and colored pieces of paper were attached with Elmer’s glue.


3. trace the history of South Dakota with emphasis on notable South Dakotans such as Red Cloud, Sitting Bull, John B. S. Todd, Fred T. Evans, Laura Ingalls Wilder, James Scotty Philip, Niels E. Hansen, Gertrude (Zitkala-Sa) Bonin, Peter Norbeck, and Francis Case; impact of the gold rush; controversy over statehood; and Indian Wars and reservation life.

4. Analyze issues of concern in South Dakota, including water issues; farming and ranching issues; Indian and Non-Indian relationships; and urban/rural population changes.


4. analyze the actions and rights of a responsible citizen, such as obey rules (classroom, family, community), the use of conflict resolution and compromise, voting rights, property rights, civil rights, and human rights.

5. identify examples from South Dakota history of conflicts over rights, how the conflicts were resolved, the important people who helped resolve them, and conflicts that remain unresolved.

Episode 20 Script


The Story
Teacher's Guide

South Dakota Department of Education and Cultural Affairs

South Dakota Public Broadcasting