• View of Schroon Mountain, 1838. Thomas Cole. Oil on canvas; 39-1/4 x 63-3/16 in. Hunman B. Hurlbut Collection 1335.1917

Native Americans and Early Settlers

Grade Level: 
Student Level: 

Tools, documents, and paintings from the collections of the Western Reserve Historical Society (WRHS) in Cleveland and the Cleveland Museum of Art evoke the lives of Native Americans and early settlers. Museum educators guide students through an examination of the mutual perceptions between the Native Americans and settlers, as well as the historical environment created by their encounters during the 18th and early 19th century.

During this lesson students participate in a bartering exercise to help them imagine transactions and issues of mutual dependence between the two groups. An in-classroom activity kit with the bartering materials accompanies the teacher packet for this lesson.

Teacher Information Packet will be mailed.

Program Format: 
  • Open discussion with visual analysis of 19th century Hudson River School paintings depicting wilderness and settlements.
  • Contrast perceptions that Native Americans and Settlers held about each other.
  • Compare survival needs of Native Americans and Early Settlers by examining artifacts owned by each group.
  • Conduct bartering interactivity in which students take the role of either Native Americans or Settlers and trade items sent in the Teacher Information Packet.
  • After bartering activity, students discuss issues such as fair exchange, communication, and mutual dependence, which affected relations between the two groups.
  • Students will gain an understanding of Native American ways of life through selected cultural artifacts.
  • Students will understand the differing perceptions that Native Americans held of settlers and that settlers held of Native Americans.