Montanans: Be proud! They looked at our IEFA and Essential Understandings regarding Montana Indians as a model as they sought to create a national project. Instead of seven Essential Understandings, they have ten, based on the National Council for Social Studies ten themes:
- American Indian Cultures: "Culture is a result of human socialization. People acquire knowledge and values by interacting with other people through common language, place, and community. In the Americas, there is vast cultural diversity among more than 2,000 tribal groups."
- Time, continuity and change: "...To understand the history and cultures of the Americas requires understanding American Indian history from Indian perspectives."
- People, places, and environments: "For thousands of years, indigenous people have studied, managed, honored, and thrived in their homelands. These foundations continue to influence American Indian relationships and interactions with the land today."
- Individual development and identity: "American Indian individual development and identity is tied to culture and the forces that have influenced and changed culture over time."
- Individuals, groups, and institutions: "American Indians have always operated and interacted within self-defined social structures that include institutions, societies, and organizations, each with specific functions. These social structures have shaped the lives and histories of American Indians through the present day."
- Power, authority, and governance: "American Indians devised and have always lived under a variety of complex systems of government. ... Tribes today still govern their own affairs and maintain a government-to-government relationship with the United States and other governments."
- Production, distribution, and consumption: "American Indians developed a variety of economic systems that reflected their cultures and managed their relationships with others. ... Today, American Indian tribes and individuals are active in economic enterprises that involve production and distribution.
- Science, technology, and society: "American Indian knowledge resides in languages, cultural practices, and teaching that spans many generations. This knowledge is based on long-term observation, experimentation, and experience with the living earth. ... When applied to contemporary global challenges, Native knowledge contributes to dynamic and innovative solutions.
- Global connections: "American Indians have always engaged in the world beyond the immediacy of their own communities. For millennia, indigenous people of North America exchanged and traded ideas, goods, technologies, and arts ... American Indian foods, technologies, wealth, and labor contributed to the development of the modern world."
- Civic ideals and practices: "Ideals, principles, and practices of citizenship have always been part of American Indian societies. ... American Indians today may be citizens of their tribal nations, the states they live in, and the United States."
The site also has lesson plans and other teaching materials. And you can search keyword or filter by subject, nation, grade level, language (English and Spanish), region, and format (digital lesson, teacher guide, teaching poster, website, videos).
For example, I searched for fourth grade material and found 10 results, including a teaching poster ("A Life in Beads: The Stories a Plains Dress Can Tell,") a website ("Living Maya Time"), and a teacher's guide ("Smithsonian in Your Classroom: Native American Dolls").
I did a second search by region (Plains and Plateau) and came up with 4 results:
- a website for grades 6-12--"Native Words/Native Warriors," which "tells the stories of American Indian WWI and WWII 'code talkers. (This would be great to use with the novel Code-Talker)
- a website for grades 4-5--"Culture Quest," which 'helps students explore 25 masterworks of art from the Infinity of Nations exhibition"
- a teaching poster for grades 4-8--"Lone Dog's Winter Count," which helps students "learn about the history-keeping methods of the Nakota people of the Northern Plains," and again
- "A Life in Beads."
I encourage you to explore the website, or read more about it in this "Teaching Tolerance" article.
P.S. If you haven't yet completed our survey on how Montana history is being taught in your district, I hope you'll donate a few minutes to the cause and do so now.