Pa tells Laura, “The government is going to move these Indians farther west, any time now. That’s why we’re here, Laura. White people are going to settle all this country, and we get the best land because we get here first and take our pick” (pp. 236–37). Do you agree that the pioneers should get the best land, or do you think that the Native Americans should have been allowed to hold on to their homeland? If you could write a letter to Pa to discuss this, what would you say? You may want to do research to back up your opinion.
THEN AND NOW
The Indians are described as “dirty and scowling and mean” (p. 232). What happens between the Ingallses and the Indians in this book? If you were a child living in Indian Territory at that time, how would you feel about the Indians? What about now, when you know that it was actually the pioneers who were invading the Native Americans’ land?
SETTING THE SCENE
The Big Woods are getting crowded, and Pa decides it’s time to head to the Kansas prairie. Once there the Ingallses start a fresh life building a house from the ground up and learning to adjust to their new home. The Ingallses no longerhave the comfort of family nearby, but they have friendly neighbors. Although pioneer life is hard, Laura and her family settle into their new home.
PROMPTS FOR GROUP DISCUSSION
Now that the Ingallses have moved to the Indian Territory, the land surrounding them is quite different from the Big Woods. Name a new difficulty that the Ingallses must face. What is something enjoyable and exciting about the vast prairie?
How does Laura help her family when they all have fever ’n’ ague (p. 188)?When they are better, why do you think Pa eats a watermelon (p. 197), even though the Scotts think that’s what caused their sickness?
How does Pa communicate with the Indian about the panther? Why does the Indian want the panther dead? How does the conversation illustrate how two mistrustful strangers can work together in a time of need?
There are many times where the Ingallses receive crucial help from their neighbors. Describe an incident in the book when a neighbor helps the family. How do the Ingallses respond? What would have happened to them if the neighbor had not come to their aid?
Why do the Ingallses leave the Indian Territory?
From Little House Big Adventure Classroom Activity Guide, Harper Collins.