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Cultural Lit. 29: Native American Sovereignty

Time Frame

3 class periods of 60 minutes each


Utah LessonPlans


Students will: Analyze the meaning of Indian Sovereignty, describe the authority of Indian governments as sovereign nations; and, explain the importance of the Marshal Trilogy of Supreme Court cases between 1821-1832, after receiving direct instruction from instructor, reading selected texts, and working in group structures, within two to three class periods.


1. David DeJong. 2000. The Constitutional Basis of the Federal Indian Relationship. Casa Grande, AZ: Mountain Top Curriculum.
2. Copy of 1823 Johnson vs. McIntosh decision (23 US Reporter 543).
3. Copy of 1831 Cherokee Nation vs. Georgia decision (30 US Reporter 1).
4. Copy of 1832 Worcester vs. Georgia decision (31 US Reporter 515).
5. Journal or notebook.

Instructional Procedures

Anticipatory Set:
Review the words ‘Sovereign, Sovereignty’ by posting on the board, on a flipchart, or on a projection device and ask the class if they are familiar with these words and their meaning. Conduct a collective brainstorming session (utilizing group structures) and add the generated vocabulary words to listed words. Allow students to postulate the meaning of words and their understanding of concepts.

Instructor will read aloud, while students follow along, the Key Terms and Concepts in Activity Three, of DeJong text. Instructor will facilitate DeJong Activity Three—activities 1-4.

Assessment Plan

Students will write in their journals what sovereignty means to them, what it means to them to be a member of a sovereign nation—Indian nation or/and US nation—and, what might happen if the right of sovereignty in Indian Country was further diminished.

Unit Assessment:
Utilizing a cooperative group structure, students will study and describe to the class in a presentation, the governmental structure of a sovereign Utah or Four-Corners region Indian nation.

Created: 01/20/2005
Updated: 01/20/2018