“Can There Ever Really Be Justice on Stolen Land?”—The Conversation Continues…

“Can There Ever Really Be Justice on Stolen Land?”—The Conversation Continues…

15+ Minutes

“The Conversation Continues” activities are discussion prompts and resources to dive deeper into the issues raised in the Basic Plan. These flexible resources require little to no preparation on your part.


  • Process personal reactions to the ideas in “The Indian Removal Act of 1830.”
  • Discuss the significance of the Indian Removal Act and its aftereffects, and what they demonstrate about race and racism and the treatment of people of color in America.

Discussion prompts

Choose the questions that seem the most relevant for your students and curriculum.

  1. What surprised you in this episode?
  2. What is/are the most important idea(s) of the episode “Can There Ever Really Be Justice on Stolen Land?”
  3. Where do you think Andrew Jackson’s opinions about Indigenous people came from?
  4. Why do you think people either opposed or supported the Indian Removal Act? What do you think their motives might have been?
  5. What do you think of Jackson’s argument that relocating Indigenous tribes to uncolonized places would preserve their culture? What is wrong with this plan?
  6. Why is it important to know about the existence of the Black Seminoles?
  7. Why do you think the Seminoles allied with Black people while other tribes participated in the slave trade? What do you think influenced these decisions?
  8. Why do you think different Indigenous tribes had different responses to the Act?
  9. The Act says, “That upon the making of any such exchange as is contemplated by this act, it shall and may be lawful for the President to cause such aid and assistance to be furnished to the emigrants as may be necessary and proper to enable them to remove to, and settle in, the country for which they may have exchanged; and also, to give them such aid and assistance as may be necessary for their support and subsistence for the first year after their removal.” Do you think that the government actually followed through with this? Why or why not?
  10. Why is it important to know that some Indigenous people owned slaves? Why do you think this happened?
  11. What connections can you make between this story and anything else we have studied so far?
  12. What are the modern repercussions of the Indian Removal Act?

Discussion Structure Ideas:

The best discussions often come when students have a chance to develop ideas before discussing them as a class. The following are different structures for small group conversations before a larger whole-class discussion of the same questions.

  • Small Groups (no-tech, low-prep): Have students discuss the prompt list in small groups, with one student taking notes. Then, discuss as a group.
  • Written Response Chain (tech-optional, low-prep): Have students write quick (2-3 minutes) responses and then exchange (digitally or otherwise) papers and read and respond, in writing. Repeat process for a total of 2, 3, or 4 passes.
  • Rotating Groups: (no-tech, low-prep): Have students meet in small groups and discuss one question at a time, recording their thoughts. Between questions, have one or two members of each group rotate to a new group.
  • Chat Stations/Gallery Walk: (Low-tech, medium-prep): Write the questions on chart paper around the room. Have groups rotate through the prompts, recording their thoughts and reactions to the thoughts of other members.
  • Digital Breakout Rooms (High-tech, low-prep): Use the breakout room feature of Zoom or create multiple Google Meets to allow students to talk in small groups and take notes.
  • Parlay or other digital discussion board: (High-tech, medium prep): Use an online discussion board. Parlay and Google Classroom can both be used as a traditional board, while a tool like Today’s Meet enables back-and-forth conversation.