Anpetu Wasteyedo (it’s a good day).
Happy Native American Heritage Month! I extend to you greetings from the OPI Indian Education Division. I am writing to share some ideas and resources for teaching about American Indians and am also promoting some of our latest Indian Education for All materials.
If you are curious about when and why November was designated as Native American Heritage Month check out the following links. National American Indian Heritage Month had its origins in 1986 when Congress passed Pub. L. 99-471 which authorized and requested the President to proclaim the week of November 23-30, 1986 as “American Indian Week.” But a resource from the Library of Congress shows that efforts started back as early as 1915.
Are you looking for some curriculum resources but don’t know where to start? I would start by going to our Indian Education website and checking out the various resources for different grade levels and content areas.
Here’s a teachable moment: all across the U.S. we teach about Thanksgiving so why not use materials that give a more inclusive look at this event. We have a lesson based upon the book, 1621 A New Look at Thanksgiving, the lesson includes links to these excellent resources.
This on‐line article from James Loewen highlights some of the common misconceptions associated with Thanksgiving. It is highly recommended this be read before you teach the lesson.
National Museum of the American Indian also has resources for teaching about Thanksgiving. Their website has teaching materials that offer rich Native perspectives on the history and contemporary life of many different Native tribes.
Visit this link for ideas and activities for teaching about Thanksgiving. The article has background information and links to other resources that look at Thanksgiving from American Indian perspectives.
Finally, here are a few newer IEFA lessons that you should check out.
- Using Primary Source Documents to Understand Tribal Sovereignty
- Building Bridges, Building Friendships: Place-Based Approaches to Develop a Successful Cross-Cultural Exchange
- Evaluating American Indian Materials and Resources for the Classroom
- Resilience: Stories of Twenty Indian Women
- Crossing Boundaries Through Art: Seals of Montana Tribal Nations