Big Deal Media

K-12 Technology

Nov 15, 2021 2021-11-15

Digital Learning • Learning Support

SPOTLIGHT! On History, Culture, and Traditions of Indigenous Peoples

Throughout November, the United States celebrates Native American Heritage Month. These resources from the US government and other organizations help preserve the rich and diverse cultures, histories, and traditions of America’s Native peoples.

Influence of Native Americans Throughout the United States
Government agencies offer a wide variety of resources for educators to use during Native American Heritage Month—and year-round. For example, the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) EDSITEment! site provides a lesson plan that explores the continuing presence and influence Native Americans have within the United States, while providing an accurate historical context. The site also presents a guide for educators to learn and teach about Native American heritage.

A Look at Native American Identity Through the Native Lens
A new pictorial collection gives a unique outlet to Native photographers to express stories of identity and the effects of colonialism. Correcting myths and looking at the evolution of Native American identity over the last 400 years is the mission of The 400 Years Project. The pictorial collection of Native American life includes original photo essays, text essays, and a digital library of Native photographers from the mid-1800s to the present.

The goal is for Native photographers to tell their stories and showcase their work. For example, Ash Adams’s series, “To Become a Person,” explores coming of age in Indigenous rural Alaska in the wake of colonization and during a time of rapidly advancing technology, climate change, and cultural resiliency. Madison Hye Long’s series is rooted in her belief that Native Americans should be defined by the richness of their history and artistic achievements, the beauty of what has been passed down, and the way they are able to express themselves in the modern age. The site’s library of Native American photographers currently stands at more than 60, with plans for expansion.

Legacy of American Indian Boarding Schools
The National Native American Boarding School (NABS) Healing Coalition has developed a curriculum on US Indian Boarding Schools for teachers and parents to use with children. The Truth and Healing Curriculum is comprised of four lessons on Indian boarding schools with the themes Truth in History, Impacts, Personal Stories, and Healing; the lessons are appropriately sectioned into three learning levels: primary, middle, and upper grades. Each lesson contains the instructional sequences INTO, THROUGH, and BEYOND. Representing the element to start the conversation and begin a phase of wonder, INTO is meant to act as a hook for the lesson. Identifying the comprehension and exploration aspect of the learning goals, THROUGH is the stage where connections are being made. Representing the sequence where learning can be extended, BEYOND is the place where essential understandings can be deepened and taken to the next level.

The lessons were designed for teachers, parents, and students to begin a conversation on the history and impact of US Indian boarding schools. The coalition will provide a free downloadable package that includes all curricula.

Diversity/Equity/Inclusion Cultural Awareness Social Studies Civic Literacy Educational Technology

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