Red Power Prevails : The Activism, Spirit, and Resistance of Native American Women

Written by: Ariel Simone Alford, Social Studies Educator, Curriculum Writer | District of Columbia |

60 minutes 


Utilize primary and secondary accounts to examine and explain the significance of women-led activism in the fight for Native liberation and sovereignty.


The invasion of the North American continent and its indigenous peoples began with the Spanish in 1565 at St. Augustine, Florida, then British in 1587 when the Plymouth Company established a settlement that they dubbed Roanoke in present-day Virginia. This first settlement failed and in 1606, the London Company established a presence in what would become Jamestown, Virginia. Different European countries invaded different territories and fought over who should colonize which lands.   

Native nations and communities resisted European efforts to amass land and power during this period and beyond. While simultaneously fighting new diseases introduced by the Europeans, destruction of sacred Native lands, kidnapping and placing Native children in European re-education “schools,” loss of religious freedoms, and a variety of unjust laws and social policies meant to further oppress the Native peoples of North America. 


Inquiry Arc/Compelling Question: How has the activism of Native American women contributed to fights for the liberation of Native people and communities? 

Warm Up: THINK-PAIR-SHARE is a collaborative learning strategy where students work together to solve a problem or answer a question. This strategy requires students to (1) think individually about a topic or answer to a question; and (2) share ideas with classmates. Discussing with a partner maximizes participation, focuses attention and engages students. 

  • (THINK) Instruct students to reflect on the information they’ve learned in school about Native American history. *Set the timer for (1) minute. Remind students to simply jot down words or phrases that come to mind. 
  • (PAIR) Have students discuss their prior knowledge with each other and place a check by any ideas that both partners wrote down. Afterwards, with the same partner, students will reflect on any movements for Native American rights that they have learned about or heard of. *Allow roughly 30 seconds for students to select partners. Review the directions and then set a timer for 3 minutes. If students cannot think of any information, instruct them to think about why they may not know this history or why this history may be important to learn 
  • (SHARE) Have students review their notes and circle what they think is most important or interesting. Give students 30 seconds to select and decide which partner will share-out with the group. *In the interest of time, only select about 4 students to share. After the share-out instruct students to think about why they may not know this history, why we have limited information about this history and why this history may be important to learn. 

Activity #1: SEE THINK WONDER is a simple critical-viewing strategy to guide students’ analysis of any visual media. By prompting students to slow down their thinking and simply observe before drawing conclusions and asking questions, you can help them engage more deeply with and analyze more thoughtfully the media they are viewing. 

  • Students will analyze primary source images to explore the history and purpose of the American Indian Movement (AIM)  
  • Using the see-think-wonder sentences stems students will construct written responses around their observations [For example: I see….which makes me think now I wonder…] 
  • Allow 2 minutes with each source and 1 minute for share-out time 

Teacher should.… 

>Direct student attention to source 

>Circulate to prompt on-task behavior 

>Set timer for 2minutes per source 

>Allow “share out” time for “See-think-wonder” responses 

>Reinforce the use of sentence stems & specific academic language  

Activity #2: Video analysis questions are a viewing comprehension strategy that promotes “close viewing” to increase comprehension and retention of video content 

  • As a class read the synopsis of the documentary “Warrior Women” by Christina D. King and Elizabeth A. Castle 
  • After reading, give students 2 minutes to read over the video analysis question so that they know “what to look for” in the trailer. 
  • Watch the trailer to the film twice. During the first viewing, have students watch and listen. During the second viewing have students attempt to complete the questions.  
  • After the second viewing students can work independently or in pairs of finish analysis questions (3 minutes)*Each response should be at least one complete sentence 
  • Review answers as a whole class 

Teacher should.… 

>Allow students time to review questions before the 1st and 2nd trailer viewing 

>Restate directions before 1st and 2nd trailer viewing 

>Circulate to prompt on-task behavior 

>Set timer when necessary 

>Allow “share out” time  

Activity #3: JOT DOT is a processing activity that gives students the opportunity to respond to questions in writing.  Asking students to think and write about what they are learning promotes retention and comprehension.  These quick checks for understanding help students make sense of what they are learning before moving on. Typically Jot Dot questions are embedded inside of reading material or in the middle of a paragraph. 

Teacher should.… 

>Briefly reteach & demonstrate the jot dot process with Question #1 (ONLY) 

-Begin reading the passage or article 

-(Questions are embedded)When you approach a question STOP and re-read and JOT down the answer 

-(Questions are not embedded) Read at least 5 sentences then STOP to assess if any questions can be answered 

-Locate answer in the passage or article (annotate, underline, highlight, circle) 

-Complete the answer in complete sentences using textual evidence if needed 

-Reconvene your reading 

>Provide scaffolds if necessary, such as evidence sentence starters [For example: Based on this…,For example in the text it states…,In paragraph _ it argues…] 

>Review and model expectations for complete responses 

>Circulate and assist as needed, Address misconceptions, and Keep time 

Assessment / Homework

Quick writes are brief, timed writing opportunities. A versatile strategy used to develop writing fluency, to build the habit of reflection into a learning experience, and to informally assess student thinking. The strategy asks learners to respond in 3-10 minutes to an open-ended question or prompt posed by the teacher before, during, or after reading. 

Take (5)mins to complete a seven sentence QUICK WRITE using the prompts: 

  1. What is the most important or interesting knowledge that you gained in this lesson? 
  2. Why is studying the history of WARN, AIM, and Native resistance significant (important)? 

Informed Action: Have students use a class social media account to post their reflections. The class can follow Warrior Women on FacebookTwitter, and Instagram and use the hashtags #WARNRidesAgain and #FollowTheMatriarchs  

Teacher should.… 

>Allow students time to review prompts 

>Decide how to facilitate and monitor informed action 

>Circulate & assist as needed 


CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RH.6-8.1 Cite specific textual evidence to support analysis of primary and secondary sources. 

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RH.6-8.7 Integrate visual information with other information in print and digital texts. 

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RH.11-12.1 Cite specific textual evidence to support analysis of primary and secondary sources, connecting insights gained from specific details to an understanding of the text as a whole. 

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RH.11-12.7 Integrate and evaluate multiple sources of information presented in diverse formats and media in order to address a question or solve a problem. 

D2.His.12.9-12. Use questions generated about multiple historical sources to pursue further inquiry and investigate additional sources. 

D2.His.16.9-12. Integrate evidence from multiple relevant historical sources and interpretations into a reasoned argument about the past. 

D2.His.1.9-12. Evaluate how historical events and developments were shaped by unique circumstances of time and place as well as broader historical contexts.