Lesson 15:Why did the Indians of the Great Plains Invite White Americans Into Their Land?

The teacher introduces a mystery: Why would American Indians in the 1830s welcome contacts with white Americans? The students then participate in a simulation of trade activity among Indians, New Mexicans and American traders in the southern Great Plains region in the early nineteenth century. The nineteenth century is usually portrayed as a time of conflict between American Indians and white Americans. Early in the century, however, several Indian tribes including the Cheyenne, Comanche and Crows welcomed contacts with white Americans. The contacts involved trade, and trade brought benefits to the traders and the Indians.


Competition, Exchange
National Content Standards in Economics:
  • Standard #5: Trade
  • Standard #9: Competition and Market Structure