November is Native American Heritage Month during this month we celebrate the wonderful contributions Native Americans have made to the world. This month we will spend time celebrating Native American History, Culture, People and Traditions through literature.
My family is from Oklahoma, but I’m not Native American( as far as I know). When it comes to teaching our students about Native American culture it is important to take the time to do some research. I have had to spend time researching Native American History. If you are in a school that has an Indian Education Program then this would be a great time to reach out to the coordinator to help you with ideas for this month. Your coordinator, who in my state of Oklahoma is generally Native American, can share stories with your class, tell you about activities and steer you in the direction of good history resources. One thing to keep in mind is that the Natvie American History we were always told may not be the complete or even true history, just as with African American History. Be sure to fact check your history before you share it with your students.
Native American Culture is rich with tradition, and it’s important that we share these traditions with our students. Here are a few ways to integrate Native American Culture into your classroom.
I always start with asking my students what they already know. This can be done using a KWL chart or just by making a simple list on the board. I do like to keep this list visible as we learn the content. Next I give students some background information. I find that the simplest way to do this is to watch videos about the topic. This will help them get a better understanding of how Native Americans live long ago, the struggles they encounter and the strides they are making today.
Books to Read
We Are Water Protectors
Be brave,Be brave, Be brave
Native American culture is rich in tradition and heritage. This is where you really want to give your students a lot of background in Native American History. Discuss Native tribes ,where they lived and how they lived. You will find that each tribe lived differently depending on where they lived. As a teacher I feel that you can not talk about Native American History, without discussing the Trail of Tears. This is a really important part of Native American History. There are so many videos that will help you do this with your students.
Sites to visit
Native American people have made huge contributions to the world. There are so many Native American first. Native American women have be making great strides for centuries. I love to share biographies with my students and women have been ground breakers in their fields. These are just a few great ones but there are so many more for you and your class to explore.
Native American people have had a long history of making their mark on the world. They are an integral part of American history, and Native Americans leaders helped shape this country into what it is today. For Example, Sharice Davids was the first Native American woman elected to serve in Congress and Sharice is an attorney and member of the Ho-Chunk Nation from Wisconsin and Wilma Mankiller, who became Cherokee Indian Nation’s First Female Chief.
Ask your school librarian to pull biographies about Native American people. Let students research Native people who inspire them. To begin you may need to give them a list. Then let them go find all they can. SIDENOTE-The internet is a big place with lots of opinions, so I limit myself students to sites like biography.com, history.com, pbs.com. There are also some history YouTube channels that are great too.
Books to Read
Sharice’s Big Voice
Wilma’s Way Home
Hiawatha and the Peacemaker.
Activities To Do
Spend part of November researching biographies about Native Americans. Have students share their findings and make these fun foldable lapbooks!
Website to Visit
Native Americans have a vast variety of traditions that date back to the beginning of their culture. Some traditions focus on foods, while others include storytelling.
Books to read
When The Shadbush Blooms
Legend of Bluebonnet
Activities to do
Try Making Fry Bread, it is easy to make and delicious.
Videos to watch
These have been some of my favorite ways to celebrate Native American History. It is important to remember that this rich tradition should be shared with future generations. Celebrate Native American culture, history, and traditions with your students through great literaure.