In 1921, the California State Legislature passed an education bill that Governor William Stephens signed into law. This law stated that all Indian students must go to the federal Indian school in their area if there was one set up by the federal government (see background information). In 1924, Alice Piper, a Californian Indian who was then 15 years old, was refused admittance to the local school because there was a federal school for Native Americans not far from her hometown of Big Pine in Inyo County. Her parents felt that since she was not of that tribe that she should be able to go to the local school and sued the local school district.
For this activity, all students involved in this case will be looking at the court's decision. From that decision, students will determine what arguments each side might have used to convince the court. The third group will take the role of the judges and develop a list of questions the judges would need answered to be able to make this decision. When each group has finished, the judges will ask those questions of the plaintiff and defendants and then read their decision.