This narrative is a cavalry soldier’s account of Chief Joseph's surrender to save his people. It is written from a first person point-of-view with the soldier saying “I witnessed something I will never forget.” The soldier goes on to relate how the U.S. government claimed the Nez Perce’s land and ordered them to move to a reservation. He explains how a fight ensued and then about the incredible retreat the amazing Chief Joseph made trying to elude the cavalry. Unfortunately, Chief Joseph eventually made a mistake. Thinking his tribe was safe, they stopped to rest only thirty miles from the Canadian border. Then the cavalryman relates, “We caught up with them and attacked. When Joseph saw how cold, hungry, and tired his people were, he realized the battle was useless and gave up.” Next the soldier tells part of Chief Joseph’s inspiring “I will fight no more forever” speech.
The four page narrative includes photos of both Chief Joseph and my invented cavalry soldier. There is also a map that approximates the route of the Nez Perce under Chief Joseph. Four more pages have sixteen multiple choice questions with four choices for each one. These questions assess both vocabulary and comprehension of the selection.
Reading comprehension skills include: Identifying Causes and Effects, Determining Character Traits, Making Inferences, Drawing Conclusions, and Locating Details.
Finally the students are given an optional bonus question that reads: On the lines below explain the meaning of Chief Joseph’s words:“You might as well expect all rivers to run backward as that any man who was born a free man should be contented penned up and denied liberty to go where he pleases.” All questions model those found on standardized tests in order to give students practice in preparing for those tests.
I think this product will motivate students to want to read and learn more about this fascinating, yet somewhat disheartening, time in U.S. history. It should also engender thoughtful questions and sparked discussions.
The final page is the answer key. The product is a word document that you can easily edit if necessary.