November is Native American Heritage Month. Visit DEC’s Native American Heritage Month page to learn more about the agency’s cooperation with Indigenous people on natural, cultural, and subsistence resources.
Edutopia’s Lessons Learned in Teaching Native American History by a non-native middle school teacher, chronicles some important lessons she has learned from teaching Native history for many years. She suggests to be humble: we can always, and should always, continue to listen and learn from the many Native voices speaking, writing, and sharing their history. Use tools, such as a Native lands map to find information on local Indigenous people and research their past and current struggles and achievements. Native-Land also has a great section on Land Acknowledgments, including reasons to move beyond these acknowledgements and how to ensure they are just a first step. Land Acknowledgments are also discussed by Native academics in “The Conversation”.
However, the biggest take away is to ensure that students are taught that Native history is not separate from American history and that there are many Native people living in the United States today. More resources to help you incorporate Indigenous knowledge and history:
- The Canadian-based website, Take Me Outside, offers suggestions of activities with students and Indigenous resources for educators.
- Watch Natural Curiosity: ‘From Acknowledgement to Action: Workshops for Educators’
- Listen to Green Teacher’s Talking with Green Teachers podcast Episode 21: Indigenous perspectives in inquiry-based learning
- Want to look at children’s books that portray Indigenous ways and life accurately? Visit American Indians in Children’s Literature blog run by a professor (and former school teacher) from the Nambé Owingeh.
- Visit SUNY Environmental Sciences & Forestry’s Center for Native Peoples and the Environment
Photo: Ndakinna cultural center hosts a native storytelling night online in this Almanack file photo By Eric Jenks