As you spend November encouraging thankfulness and gratitude in your classroom, consider dedicating time to celebrating our nation’s Native American communities and acknowledging the treatment of Indigenous peoples in the Americas.
National Native American Heritage Month gives teachers of all backgrounds a unique opportunity to elevate Indigenous voices and teach students about their culture and contributions. The resources below can help you create an authentic and inclusive Native American Heritage Month lesson plan:
Created by the Smithsonian National Museum of the American Indian, this guide has educational materials, virtual student programs, and teacher training programs that challenge common misconceptions and highlight historical and contemporary Native American narratives.
In honor of Indigenous Peoples’ Day, Illuminative partnered with Amplifier and Nia Tero to create a project-based lesson plan asking students: How does honoring and restoring land stewardship to Native Americans impact human lives and property, biodiversity, and air and water quality?
This selection of lessons, books, and films by the Zinn Education Project helps students critically analyze the history of Columbus, the Indigenous Peoples’ Global Summit on Climate Change, the historic struggle surrounding the Dakota Access Pipeline, and the Trail of Tears.
Whose Land Are We On?
Dr. Emma Humphries recommends starting close to home when learning about Native American history. This website maps Indigenous territories all around the world and is searchable by address.
This collection was created to give educators and pre-service teachers an accurate and authentic way to start teaching about the American Indian Nations of Wisconsin. The collection includes educational videos, teacher professional development resources, and lesson plans for all grades. Especially helpful: their three starter questions for kicking off an engaging conversation about American Indian Studies:
- How long have humans lived here?
- In 1800, which American Indian nations called the lands you are on today home?
- Who are my tribal neighbors today?
Additional National Museum of the American Indian Resources
The Museum’s educational collection includes a chapter on cultural repression, specifically histories from the federal Indian boarding school system (recommended for middle- and high-school students). The Museum has also developed a unit on Celebrating Native Cultures Through Words: Storytelling and Oral Traditions, with classroom activities and resources appropriate for all grade levels.
Teachers, create a project today to help bring Native American history into your classroom. (Need some inspiration? See what your fellow teachers are doing.)