Although it is not mentioned in this history of the origins of Native American Heritage Month, I imagine it is not a coincidence that November, the month when we in the United States celebrate Thanksgiving, has this designation. Traditional stories of the first Thanksgiving are often misleading about the roles played by the Native Americans (who some prefer to refer as Indigenous Peoples) and the Europeans, and the holiday is rife with opportunity for cultural appropriation. Last year, I shared some materials to help teachers honor the rich cultural influences and contributions of our American Indigenous Peoples, and I want to summarize that list and add to it this year. I’ll be adding a link to this post in my Anti-Racist Wakelet, as well as in my Thanksgiving/November Wakelet.
- PBS Lesson about the Wampanoag Tribe
- “Why Teach Native American History?” from Wyoming PBS
- “Rethinking Native Stories in Classrooms,” by Debbie Reese
- Picture book suggestions for culturally sensitive Native American units by Joelle Trayers
- Native American Heritage Month Website Resources for Teachers (which includes: Native Innovation in Video Games: An Interview with Game Designer Elizabeth LaPensée, Native American Boarding Schools – Primary Source Set, and Interactive Lesson: A Cheyenne Odyssey among many other links)
- Native American Heritage Month Infographic from PTA
- Harvest Ceremony: Beyond the Thanksgiving Myth
- American Indian Perspectives on Thanksgiving
- Lesson Plans from the Abbe Museum (scroll to Educator Resources near the bottom)
- Thanksgiving Mourning from Learning for Justice
- 20 Native Women to Know from YWCA
- Meaningful Texts about Native American History from Common Lit
Lastly, if you are short on time (as most educators are!), I think this brief summary of “5 Orientations to Support Indigenous Studies Curriculum” is a very helpful reference to aid us in avoiding the harmful language that perpetuates myths and stereotypes surrounding Native Americans.
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