Five College Consortium

NEH Summer Institute for Teachers:
Native Americans of New England

Native American Monuments and American Memory

Subject area focus: 
English Language Arts
Social Studies/History
Grade level: 
Days to complete: 
Institute year: 
School name: 
Springfield Central HS
School district: 

Students will use primary and secondary sources to explore the questions: What role do monuments have in our understanding of historical events?  How do monuments reflect the history of the Native Americans and colonists?  How can a statue serve as a memorial of all the people involved? 

This lesson looks at Springfield, Massachusetts, an English settlement along the Connecticut River that was almost destroyed and abandoned after an attack by Native Americans on October 5, 1675. According to legend, a friendly Native American, Toto, warned the residents of the attack and thereby saved most of them.A statue was commissioned in his honor with a plaque that summarized the events.  Today, his statue still stands in a remote location but the plaque has been removed.  Students will research the relationship between the colonists and Native Americans before and after the attack, and the context in which the statue was erected.