Exploration and Conquest Stories of Indigenous Peoples: With Student Study Guide


  1. Vocabulary Development
  2. Reading Comprehension
  3. Written Expression
  4. Core Curriculum Concepts
  5. An Integrated Workbook
  6. Pictures Highlighting Key History Figures And Events

A Book For High School Students: Exploration And Conquest Stories Of Indigenous Peoples


This book takes the student around the globe and across the centuries with a pictorial odyssey.  Six continents are covered, as are island nations.   Twenty-two anecdotes are labeled “Did You Know?” Each of these has a vivid photo associated and a dramatic story.  For example:  Vietnamese villages are shown kowtowing to French invaders; indigenous Putumayo are shown chained as slave laborers on South American rubber plantations; and junks are shown burning off the coast of Canton during the Opium Wars.

A special feature is the “Useful Terms” section, which offers simple explanations for challenging words that appear in the text.  Also, in the “Student Study Guide” (incorporated into the book), there is an exercise in map reading.  There are, additionally,  vocabulary and reading comprehension questions, as well as a suggested essay in the Guide.

The book is suitable for high school or upper middle school.  Upon completion of the book, students will have learned how Europe’s Age of Exploration affected indigenous peoples around the world.

The photo below illustrates how the images in “Exploration and Conquest” capture dramatic moments in history.  Photos, such as the one featured here, will hold students’ attention and will help them understand critical concepts.

Ethiopian Resistance Fighters
This photo was taken between 1935 and 1940 by an unknown author.  The men were part of organized resistance to Mussolini as he sought to expand his African colonies.

Exploration and Conquest: Stories of Indigenous Peoples


This post is adapted from the Introduction to the book.

Cave dwellers told their stories with vivid imagery. Through lively scenes, artists reached across ages and revealed themselves.  This was history, the story of people, of what they did and of what happened to them.

Exploration and Conquest: Stories of Indigenous Peoples is like a cave painting. It tells about people and what happened to them. The book, like the paintings, is rich in imagery. These images help readers to visualize events they have not personally witnessed.

Almost two centuries are covered in Exploration and Conquest: Stories of Indigenous Peoples. The book does not offer a detailed explanation and description of European Colonialism. What it does offer is an impression of how colonization of Asia, Africa, Australia and the Americas altered the destinies of millions of people. 

Exploration and Conquest takes the reader around the world. This is a fascinating and often tragic journey, a brief but riveting chapter in the continuing saga of humankind.

Below is one story out of many that are told in the book:

The French Keep a Foothold in Pondicherry, India

Albumen photograph by Bourne & Shepherd Studio, Calcutta, 1890, Copyright expired


While the British controlled India, the French still maintained a presence there. Called French India, the colony consisted of five small territories spread along two coasts. The largest of these was Pondicherry (today called Puducherry), on the Indian Ocean. The picture above shows French colonials as they navigate the city in carriages that use the energy of local residents, Indians, to propel them.

The French presence in Pondicherry dated back to 1672, when an agent of the French East India Company, M. Martin, bought a piece of land from the King of Bejapoor.  Martin promptly built a factory.  After that, Pondicherry was taken by the Dutch, retaken by the French, taken by the British a couple of times, and then returned to French control, where it remained until 1954.

The town was designed with a canal running down the middle. One side, called White Town, was reserved for the French and the other side, called Black Town, was reserved for Indians.

A. G. Moore   9/2016

War of 1812: Highlighting Native Nations

Tecumseh 2 site The story of_Isaac_Brock,_hero,_defender_and_saviour_of_upper_Canada,_1812_(1908)_(14763177825)
Tecumseh meets General Isaac Brock. The picture is from The Story of Isaac Brock By Walter R. Nursery

By Zig Misiak

The Star-Spangled Banner is the national anthem of the United States. It was written during the War of 1812, a war I learned about in grade school. I was taught then that the US was involved in a heroic (though ironic) Battle of New Orleans, that the US capital was burned, that Dolly Madison was brave and that the English impressed American sailors from American ships. Zig Misiak’s War of 1812: Highlighting Native Nations doesn’t mention any of these events. He describes a different war. Mr. Misiak is Canadian, and the Canadian experience was distinct from the one I learned about. Both the narrative I learned as a child and Mr. Misiak’s book are accurate, and yet so dissimilar. That’s the most interesting lesson I took from this book: a reminder that information is dependent on perspective.

War of 1812: Highlighting Native Nations is a beautiful book. It is filled with high-quality color photos that constitute a virtual tour through history, Canadian history, and the flip side of US history. Although this book was written for students, I found it engaging and enlightening. I read it in two stages. The first was a cursory review of the pictures and captions. It’s hard to resist these and so I just enjoyed myself. Then I went back to read in detail Mr. Misiak’s description of events.

This is when the lesson on perspective truly hit home. For example, Mr. Misiak speaks about the United States’ “perceived violations of American sovereignty”. Certainly England thought it had a right to institute a blockade and interfere with ships in international waters (that is, stop and board neutral vessels). It would not be the first or last nation to do this. But the fact that it was done and that a US ship was fired upon, is more than a perception. Mr. Misiak describes the United States’ ambition, and aggression, in seeking to absorb Canada. That is a fact, one that was glossed over in the history I was taught. And generally omitted in my history classes was the role of indigenous Americans and their alliance with Britain in the hope of securing an independent nation west of the Mississippi.

Indigenous Americans, Canadians, and the British fought side by side during the war. The British shared with their indigenous allies the desire to stop American expansion by creating an indigenous buffer state on the US frontier. Many Canadians died defending their homeland, as did many indigenous Americans, including the legendary Tecumseh.

The war ended with the US and Britain each declaring victory. The British agreed to respect US naval neutrality and the US abandoned its ambition to take over Canada. Besides the loss of life and devastation of property, the losers in the war were indigenous Americans. With the signing of the peace treaty, US expansion beyond the Mississippi was insured and the slow, unrelenting erosion of indigenous sovereignty proceeded.

Mr. Misiak has a gentle voice, which is consistent with his respect for people of the First Nations (a term used to describe the indigenous people of Canada). It is obvious that Mr. Misiak has cultivated a relationship with representatives of the First Nations and that he wishes to share their legacy and struggle for Constitutional rights. His book, War of 1812: Highlighting Native Nations, would be a worthy addition to any library, especially if young readers have access to that library.


A. G. Moore, September 2016