Did you know that November is National Native American Heritage Month? We wanted to provide you with a few great ways to celebrate and educate your students about this month and what it represents. The Smithsonian and a few other museums have put together a great website on Native American Heritage Month. This website includes information on the history of this culture, such as exhibits at museums across the country, along with some great resources specific for educators and beautiful photographs selected to represent the culture.
Did you also know that it was not until 1990 that Native Americans were provided with an entire month to celebrate their heritage? You can read about the history of National American Heritage Month on the Department of Defense Education Activity’s website here. Native Americans, as we all know have been given the short end of the stick for a long time, so as we celebrate their heritage with them and learn about their culture it is important to hear these history lessons from their words – we encourage you to check out PBS’s webpage dedicated to this cultural resurgence. PBS provides a few wonderful videos, recipes, and activities about the culture. I found this article, “Blue Corn, Bear Root, and Resilience” from the PBS website the most interesting as it brings the history of their culture into their food.
The website Teacher Vision has put together a wonderful and useful list of classroom activities, lesson plans, quizzes, and much more to help us educate our students (and ourselves) about this beautiful culture. Some of the activities include the classic Trail of Tears lesson, but others take a more positive approach and discuss the importance of music and art in the culture along with discussing the importance of Folk Tales and Indian Symbols and their meanings.
As we are always learning new ways to be inclusive in our lives as SEL workers, it is important that we take time to acknowledge other cultures. This article by CNN discusses some great ways on how we can properly acknowledge the Native American Heritage without appropriation. CNN mentions the importance of being educated on both the history and present of the Native American Culture, as well as reading the works of Native American authors and supporting local Native American businesses.
Along with the above resources the National Education Association provides a list of resources to support classroom learning around National American Indian Heritage Month. This resource provides a list of lesson plans, books broken down by grade level, and so much more.
We hope that this information will inspire you to educate and appreciate the National American Heritage Month this November!