American Indian Genocide

A group of American Indians amidst their tipis

American Indian Genocide:
A Brief Overview for High School Students

The complete history of the United States cannot be told without studying the story of American Indians. From the culture of American Indian tribes to their interaction with settlers and explorers to their ongoing struggle to maintain their identity and sovereignty, understanding the rich history of American Indians is vital to a comprehensive study of the United States.

The CA HSS Framework includes a study of American Indians in almost every grade level starting with the third grade. Many historians now consider the systematic treatment of American Indians throughout history to be a genocide. This video explores that concept and provides educators and students with an account of not only the historical mistreatment of American Indians, but with an insight into how the repercussions of those actions are still felt today. While the content of this video is geared toward high school students, middle school educators may find this a useful resource when developing their lessons around American Indian history. This video is also designed to be a starting point for a larger conversation about how genocide can occur, what international response to genocide should be, and what role individuals have in preventing genocide from occurring in the future.

This before and after photo shows how some American Indian groups were forced to adopt European customs in an attempt to assimilate into “white” society.