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Teach This: Navajo Code Talkers, Pocahontas and Andrew Jackson
The November 27 Oval Office ceremony honoring Navajo Code Talkers included what has become a highly controversial remark by the president referencing Pocahontas. Use our discussion questions to address this current event—and the history behind it—with your students.
Discussing Race, Racism and Other Difficult Topics With Students.
Native American Heritage
Primary Sources and Teaching Activities
The billions of historical documents and other materials housed at the National Archives throughout the country include information relating to American Indians from the 18th through the 21st century. The National Archives preserves and makes available the documents created by Federal agencies in the course of their daily business. The documents we hold related to American Indians reflect their interaction with the U.S. Government.
Native American Heritage Month Resources for Teachers
Without guidance, too many teachers may celebrate Native American Heritage Month in the only ways they know how: paper bag vests and feathers, classroom pow wows, and discussions on who Indians were.
So, we have culled a list of resources for teachers to help expand their horizons to go beyond the stereotypes, and really teach their students the true history of the Native people of this country.
Making Connections to Myth and Folktale: The Many Ways to Rainy Mountain
Students write a three-voice narrative based on the structure in N. Scott Momaday's The Way to Rainy Mountain.
American Indian Responses to Environmental Challenges
National Museum of The American Indian
Throughout their long histories, American Indian peoples have thrived on, respected, and protected the environments that make up their homelands. Being good stewards of the environment remains important to American Indians today. Select a tribe to discover how these Native communities are making a difference.
A Racial Justice Guide to Thanksgiving for Educators and Families
Compiled by Border Crossers
Lesson Plans/ Study Guides
Native American Perspectives, Contributions and Celebrations
Resources for Families
Abolish Columbus Day
Zinn Education Project
Celebrating Columbus means celebrating colonialism, celebrating racism, celebrating genocide. It's time that instead we paid tribute to the people who were here first, who are still here, and who are leading the struggle for a sustainable planet.
NYC Stands with Standing Rock Collective
This syllabus project contributes to the already substantial work of the Sacred Stones Camp, Red Warrior Camp, and the Oceti Sakowin Camp to resist the construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline, which threatens traditional and treaty-guaranteed Great Sioux Nation territory. The Pipeline violates the Fort Laramie Treaty of 1868 and 1851 signed by the United States, as well as recent United States environmental regulations. The potentially 1,200-mile pipeline presents the same environmental and human dangers as the Keystone XL pipeline, and would transport hydraulically fractured (fracked) crude oil from the Bakken Oil Fields in North Dakota to connect with existing pipelines in Illinois. While the pipeline was originally planned upriver from the predominantly white border town of Bismarck, North Dakota, the new route passes immediately above the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation, crossing Lake Oahe, tributaries of Lake Sakakawea, the Missouri River twice, and the Mississippi River once. Now is the time to stand in solidarity with Standing Rock against catastrophic environmental damage.
Newsela: Student Activities Packet
Celebrating Native American Heritage Month
A note on language and identity: Dennis Zotigh, liaison for the National Museum of the American
Indian, reflects on how to refer to people who identify as Native American. “Ultimately, I would like to be referred to by my tribal names of Kiowa, Santee Dakota, and Ohkay Owingeh! Most Native people also appreciate being associated with their particular tribes. But I know this is difficult. In actuality, the reference of Native American vs. American Indian is largely generational. My grandparents and other Native elders first referred to themselves by their tribes, although I also heard them less frequently refer to themselves as American Indian. I refer to myself by my tribal affiliation first, but don’t mind being called Indian. The generation younger than mine refers to themselves as Native Americans.”
Native American Heritage Text Set
Native American Heritage Month is a national effort in November, to celebrate and pay tribute to the first Americans and their rich culture, traditions and “contributions” to the establishment and growth of the U.S. Around the U.S. museums, schools and communities gather to witness, cherish, and partake in the traditions rooted in the rich practices that have endured and continue to evolve.
While it is a joyous time of celebration, and paying respects, history continues to be relevant as do the contemporary voices of those we aim to celebrate. Newsela’s approach to providing instructional content for Native American Heritage Month is to recenter the narrative on contemporary voices that shed light on the many narratives, the many truths, the many traditions and the many practices of the first Americans, while examining America’s turbulent history.
Q&A: Native Knowledge 360°
The same limited stories about American Indians persist in textbooks. The National Museum of the American Indian’s new program is looking to change that.
Native Knowledge 360°
The National Museum of the American Indian (NMAI) Native Knowledge 360° Essential Understandings about American Indians is a framework that offers new possibilities for creating student learning experiences. Building on the ten themes of the National Council for the Social Studies' national curriculum standards, the NMAI's Essential Understandings reveal key concepts about the rich and diverse cultures, histories, and contemporary lives of Native peoples. These concepts reflect a multitude of untold stories about American Indians that can deepen and expand your teaching of history, geography, civics, economics, science, engineering, and other subject areas.
THINK INDIGENOUS – A PODCAST SERIES
When Trivia Isn't Trivial
A few days before Thanksgiving, an email went out to teaching staff at my high school, relaying the standard information about the last days before break. It ended with a section on "Thanksgiving Trivia." I had been prepared for the typical references to Plymouth Rock and the Mayflower, but when I read, "The Native American Indians who celebrated the First Thanksgiving dinner with the Pilgrims were from which tribe?" my stomach dropped. "Trivia?" "Celebrated?" Are we really asking each other and our students this kind of question? As a Native American, an educator and a member of my school's Equity Learning Team, I had to say something.
With and About: Inviting Contemporary American Indian Peoples Into the Classroom
Find out how some Native families have helped their local schools become more informed and responsive, and learn how more states are including Native people in their curricula.
Rewriting History—for the Better
More states are including American Indians in their mainstream curricula.
National Museum of The American Indian
The museum provides a variety of materials for use in the classroom. All have been developed by the museum's education staff in collaboration with Native community members. These materials offer rich Native perspectives on the history and contemporary life of many different Native tribes. Although these resources are grouped by category, they often address multiple themes.
American Indian Heritage Teaching Resources
Each year, the Smithsonian honors American Indian Heritage Month with a calendar full of activities. Visit the American Indian Heritage Month website each November for more information on the events in the Washington, DC area.
Wisdom of the Elders
Wisdom of the Elders, Inc. records and preserves traditional cultural values, oral history, prophesy and other messages of guidance from indigenous elders in order to regenerate the greatness of culture among today’s and future generations of native peoples. As First Peoples, we are humbled by the wisdom of our elders and the deep connection they share with Great Spirit, the world of nature and family. We regard our elders as rapidly vanishing, irreplaceable keepers of oral history, tradition and environment. Values they extol represent an ancient legacy of knowledge which has become as endangered as many disappearing species in our fragile ecosystem.
Bell Ringer: Native American Citizenship
Native American citizenship in the United States has a long problematic history that continues today. Frank Pommersheim talked about past cases and legislation that has contributed to problematic history of Native American citizenship in the U.S.
#IndigenousReads by Indigenous Writers: A Children’s Reading List
Only 1% of the children’s books published in the U.S. in 2016 featured Indigenous characters, and even fewer (1/4 of the 1% = 8 books total) were written by Indigenous authors. “Most of what kids see in books today are best sellers & classics that stereotype & misrepresent Native people in history. There’s a lot of bias in them. The books that I recommend are ones that can counter that bias in several ways. One, they’re not stereotypical. Two, most of them are set in the present day, which is important in countering what we see in a lot of children’s & young adult literature, which says that we vanished, we didn’t make it to the present day, and of course we did.” -Debbie Reese, Nambe Pueblo, of American Indians in Children’s Literature