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Teacher Feature

Teacher Feature

2011 Native American $1 Coin


Students will use the 2011 Native American $1 Coin as a basis for understanding treaties and problem solving.


The 2011 Native American $1 Coin reverse features the hands of the Supreme Sachem Massasoit Ousamequin and Governor John Carver, symbolically exchanging the ceremonial peace pipe after the initiation of a formal written peace alliance in 1621 between the Massassoit (a title meaning “head chief”) of the Pokanoket Wampanoag and the settlers of Plymouth.

Discuss the terms “treaty” and “negotiation” and the significance of the peace pipe.  What other images come to mind when students think of making peace or reaching an agreement? What was the role of the Massasoit? Who do students turn to for conflict resolution?

Have students research both groups, the settlers of Plymouth and the Wampanoag, to create a list of reasons the groups might be for and against a treaty to defend each other.  Share results as a class.

Divide the students into small groups of odd numbers.  Have the students represent three parties: the Wampanoag, the settlers, and the Massasoit.  Have them verbally role play the treaty negotiation.  Once a negotiation is reached, have students summarize on paper the key parts of the treaty, and seal the deal with a handshake, representative of the peace pipe displayed on the coin.

After each group has had a chance to negotiate the treaty, brainstorm as a class times when students have experienced conflict (with a sibling, another student, etc.).  Ask them how they worked out the problem, or if they ever had help from a parent, coach, or teacher, since some problems are more difficult to resolve.

Ask the students to return to their groups, switch roles, and choose one of the problems discussed in the brainstorm, or a new one.  Have the students represent the two sides and a mediator.  Walk around the groups and offer assistance for problems that might be harder to solve.  Once students reach an agreement, have them shake on it.

After each student has had a chance to play each role, have them choose one of the negotiations and write a treaty based on the resolution.  Allow students to share their treaties with the class.

Make a Connection

The 2011 Native American $1 Coin lesson plans are now available on the United States Mint H.I.P. Pocket Change™ Web site for use in your classroom!  Take a look at the lesson plans created specifically to celebrate the 2011 Native American $1 Coins:

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