Thursday, November 7, 2013

Poetry and Prose for Native American Heritage Month

Part of me resists the idea of Native American Heritage Month (or African American History Month and Women's History Month) since I believe these topics should be explored all year long. That said, I'll take what I can get and since November is designated Native American Heritage Month, I thought it might be useful to provide a few links--to use this month or any time at all.

National Museum of the American Indian is posting a poem a day on its Facebook page in honor of Native American Heritage Month.

For a great collection of poems by Montana Indian poetsalong with well-thought-out teaching resourcessee OPI's Indian Education Division's (relatively new) book, Birthright: Born to PoetryA Collection of Montana Indian Poetry. OPI posted the entire book online as a PDF for download and sent copies to public school libraries. They also filmed and posted the poets reading their poems, which I loved, because I much prefer hearing poems to reading them.

More interested in prose than poetry? An interview with Darrin Old Coyote, Crow tribal chairman, is a recent installment in the National Museum of the American Indian's "Meet Native America" series.

In the "oldie-but-goodie" category, Montanatribes.org is a great resource. A collaborative project of the Office of Public Instruction and the  University of Montana's Regional Learning Project, this digital archive contains short video clips of tribal cultural and historical experts speaking on a variety of topics.

The Montana Historical Society has created a number of IEFA lessons that focus on topics from pre-contact trade to resource extraction on the Northern Cheyenne Reservation. Explore these and other resources on the Indian Education for All Lessons page of our website.

Other IEFA worksheets, lessons, and documents can be found on our Montana: Stories of the Land Companion Website. Chapters 2 (Pre-contact), 3 (Horse Era)7 (Treaty Period) and 11 (Early Reservation Era) focus entirely on Montana Indian history but Indian history is woven throughout so almost every chapter has activity suggestions in the end of chapter material, links to resources, or worksheets designed to deepen students' understandings of Montana Indians (see for example this worksheet from the railroad chapter). 
Finally, here's a link to OPI's Indian Education Division's newsletter from last November, that includes an annotated list of resources for teaching about Thanksgiving in ways that include American Indian perspectives.

What's your favorite IEFA resource?

p.s. Looking for still more inspiration? Click on the IEFA label to see past blog posts, including this one, this one, and this one.

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