Year of Award


Document Type


Degree Type

Master of Arts (MA)

Degree Name


Department or School/College

Department of Geography

Committee Chair

Sarah J. Halvorson

Commitee Members

Thomas Sullivan, Wade Davies


Geography, Geography Education, HB 412, Indian Education for All, Place-based Education


University of Montana


Nellis, Mary, M.A., Summer 2013 Geography How Ch-Paa-Qn Got Its Name: A Sixth-Grade Geography Curriculum Unit for Indian Education for All in Montana Chair: Sarah J. Halvorson This thesis reports on the design and implementation of a sixth-grade geography curriculum based on Montana House Bill 412 (HB412), a bill whereby the legislature mandated the removal of the word “squaw” from public places in Montana. The framework for this unit is founded on place-based education principles and is tailored to fit within the concepts of Indian Education for All as mandated in the Montana State Constitution. Furthermore, as a place-based unit created for students in Missoula, Montana, a primary focal point was Ch-paa-qn Peak, a 7996 foot peak located in Missoula County and the first site in Missoula County to be renamed. The aims of this project were three-fold. First, the curriculum unit was designed to broaden the students’ understanding of how places get their names, how these names end up on maps, and how HB 412 was instrumental in changing the names of 76 sites in Montana. Second, the intention was to guide students to think about the concept of place, and how names reflect the various ties that people have to the places in which they live. The third aim was to provide middle school teachers statewide with field-tested curricula that support the mission of Indian Education for All, an effort by the State of Montana to incorporate Native history and worldview into all areas of public education.



© Copyright 2012 Mary Elizabeth Nellis