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Lesson 1
We Both Want to Use This Land

Subject Areas
• U.S. History - Colonial America and the New Nation
• Native Americans

Lower elementary

Learning Objectives
After completing these activities, students will be able to:
• Describe what English homes were made of and compare that to what Pocumtuck homes were made of
• Describe the permanence of each structure and its impact on the landscape
• Explain why the Deerfield area is a good site for a community
• Describe how each group changed the landscape
• Express opinions about how the English and Pocumtuck would have gotten along if they were both living in the same area

• Observing and describing
• Interpreting visual information
• Comparing and contrasting
• Making inferences
• Thinking critically
• Expressing opinions
• Reading maps
• Understanding cause and effect

Time Required
One class period

Both European and Native peoples left distinctive imprints on the land. In addition, each group wanted to use the same land in different ways. In this lesson, students learn about differences between these ideas of land use by closely examining artwork that depicts homes, communities, and surrounding landscapes from each culture.

Guiding Question
What problems were created when both the Pocumtucks and English settlers wanted to live in the Deerfield area?

image of Pocumtuck homeland circa 1550

Pocumtuck Homeland circa 1550.
Illustration by Will Sillin.

  image of Deerfield in 1703

Deerfield area in 1703.
Illustration by Will Sillin.

Preparing to Teach

  1. Go to the Maps Menu on the 1704 website and click The Deerfield/Pocumtuck Area. Examine the first illustration of Pocumtuck, circa 1550, and read the text. Next, examine the second illustration, Deerfield, circa 1700, and read the text.
  2. Go to the Explanations Menu and read Native Land Use and Settlements in the Northeastern Woodlands, by Marge Bruchac.
  3. Determine whether you will teach this lesson by projecting the illustrations onto a screen, or handing out colored copies of the illustrations. Alternately, you can create a Student Activity Sheet with these discussion questions and ask students to complete the worksheet on their own.

Teaching the Lesson

  1. Go to the Maps Menu on the 1704 website and click The Deerfield/Pocumtuck Area. Project on a screen (or hand out colored copies) the first two views, Pocumtuck, circa 1550, and Deerfield, circa 1700. If projecting, show the 1550 view first.
  2. As students examine the 1550 view and tell them that this was part of the homeland of the Pocumtucks, the Native people who lived in and around Deerfield. Ask:
    a. What might the Pocumtucks have liked about living in this spot?
    b. How are they using the land in this picture? List the activities that people are involved in.
    c. What is the land giving them?
    d. How did they change the area to make life easier? How much of this can you figure out by looking at the picture?
  3. Now have students study the 1700 view, and ask:
    a. Is this the same spot? How can you tell? This is how the area looked when the English settlers moved in.
    b. What might the English have liked about living in this spot?
    c. How are they using the land? List the activities that people are involved in.
    d. What is the land giving them?
    e. How did they change the area to make life easier?
  4. Now compare the two views with the class. Ask:
    a. What are the differences between the two views?
    b. Why did the English build fences? There would have been a very long fence around the whole planting area. Why didn't the Pocumtucks build any fences?
    c. If you were a Pocumtuck who was still in the area after the English settled there, how would you get from the woods to the river? Remember that there are fences in the way. Do you think the English would be mad if you climbed their fences and walked across their planted fields? What would you tell them?
    d. The English usually did not keep their pigs in pens, but allowed them to roam wherever they wanted. As a Pocumtuck, what would you say and do if the English pigs got into your cornfield? If you were the pigs' owner, what would you say? The English were supposed to pay for any damages to crops caused by their animals. Is this a good enough solution?
    e. The Pocumtucks didn't keep animals such as pigs, sheep, cows or chickens. They hunted and fished instead, and this involved a lot of walking and moving of their homes. The English stayed put in one spot. Can you think of how these two groups could have lived together in the same spot? What do you think really happened between the English and the Pocumtucks in the Deerfield area?

Suggested answers to the discussion questions above

From the Artifacts Menu on the 1704 website:

  • Ahimunquat Deed
  • Mashalisk Deed
  • Chauk Deed

From the Explanations Menu on the 1704 website:

  • English Colonization, by Kevin Sweeney
  • European Land Use and the Transformation of the Northeast, by Kevin Sweeney
  • Native Land Use and Settlements in the Northeastern Woodlands, by Marge Bruchac


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