Tuesday, February 6, 2007

History Book Discussion Study Group - The Unredeemed Captive

In January, teachers from Danvers, Lowell, North Reading and Reading met to discuss John Demos' The Unredeemed Captive: A Family Story from Early America. Despite some initial frustration with Demos' style, most participants agreed that the discussion flowed very easily.

Topics for discussion included the march from Deerfield and the treatment of the captives as a necessary evil versus an absolute inhumane attack. Women's roles in Native American culture versus Puritan New England society were discussed with participants assessing Eunice's reasons for remaining in Canada. Puritan values and norms were studied particularly through Reverand William's actions and writings. Conflict and consensus between Native Americans, French Canadians, and English Puritans guided participants to review the broad historical context of the 1704 raid on Deerfield.

Lesson plan ideas included utilizing the Raid on Deerfield website with students, comparing and contrasting Native American, French Canadian, and Puritan society, utilizing the primary sources Demos' refers to throughout, and using Eunice's story as a starting point for examining the broad themes of religion, gender roles, family, and war in Colonial America.