Native American petroglyphs in Capitol Reef National Park along the Fremont River in Wayne County Utah USA. Modern Hopi and Zuni peoples interpret that these have great spiritual significance. Recording clan migrations, ceremonial activities, supernatural deities, and plants and animals found in the area.
Celebrating Native American Heritage Month
November is National Native American Heritage Month. Teaching students about the culture, traditions, music, art, and world views of indigenous peoples is important to celebrating our shared sense of humanity. Celebrate this month with your students, and check out some Listenwise stories and other resources that could be helpful in bringing Native American heritage into your classroom this month and throughout the year.
Podcast Lessons for Native American Heritage Month
Explore our Listenwise stories that showcase voices and perspectives of indigenous people and discuss themes of culture, identity, stereotyping, racism, and privilege:
- Debate: Should a River Be Granted Personhood?
- Resisting the Trail of Tears
- Debate: Should tribal citizenship define Native American identity?
- National Native American Veterans Memorial
- Life on a Reservation: Native American Identity in Literature
- Is Redskins an Appropriate Mascot Name?
- Pamunkey Native American Tribe Gets Federal Recognition
- Wounded Knee and Sioux Native Americans
- Apology to Native Americans, 150 Years Later
- Columbus Day or Indigenous People’s Day
Listen to Students from Crow Reservation in Montana
Listen to this podcast to hear students at Crow Agency Public School on the Crow Reservation in Montana debunk myths and stereotypes about Native American life. Fifth grade teacher Connie Michael was inspired to make this podcast with her students after working with teachers at the Smithsonian Museum of the American Indian, where she learned that students across the country had significant misconceptions about life on a reservation:
Other High Quality Resources for Native American Heritage Month
Here are a few more high-quality resources that can help you bring indigenous peoples’ perspectives into your classroom:
- Listen to this NPR interview with the author of a new children’s book called Fry Bread, who wrote the book because he found few Native American characters represented in children’s literature.
- Listen to this KRCC story: The Mountain West Brings Native Lessons To The Classroom and check out the associated lessons.
- “Stolen Lives: The Indigenous Peoples of Canada and the Indian Residential Schools” is a teaching resource from Facing History & Ourselves that illuminates an important chapter in the history of colonial and indigenous peoples.
- Read “We Can Do Better: Rethinking Native Stories in Classrooms” for expert advice on how to respectfully represent Native voices in the classroom.
- Native Knowledge 360° promotes improvement of teaching and learning about American Indians.
- Use these lessons, activities and videos from from Share My Lesson to delve into first nations’ culture and heritage.
As we head into Thanksgiving later this month, it’s important to recognize that, as Teaching Tolerance explains in their Thanksgiving Mourning lesson, “For some Native Americans, Thanksgiving is no cause for celebration, but rather serves as a reminder of the devastating effect of colonialism on indigenous peoples.” They offer valuable resources to use with students to help them think critically about American holidays and history and to read and listen to different perspectives.
Teaching Tolerance also offers other teaching resources to help promote understanding of the Native American experience. For example, their lesson Teaching Thanksgiving in a Socially Responsible Way raises the point that “Native Americans have been speaking out and writing back against the colonialist narrative of Thanksgiving for as long as the American narrative has existed.”
Please share with us in comments any other resources that you use to help promote understanding of indigenous peoples’ cultures, histories, and perspectives.