Happy National Native American Heritage Month!
Updated: Nov 5, 2021
*Written by Meredith Lam*
This month is a time to celebrate the countless contributions and influences Native peoples have made to our nation. It is a time to elevate Native voices, lives, communities, businesses, and experiences. It is a wonderful time to learn about tribal histories; currently, there are 574 tribes in the U.S. that are federally recognized.
In an effort to celebrate and help others become more educated, we are sharing two helpful lesson plans that can be taught at home or in the classroom. These lesson plans are a great way to begin conversations and are great starting points for learning about the many Native peoples in the United States today. We hope these lesson plans will spark your curiosity to learn more about the histories, cultures, and ways of life of the different tribes across the U.S.
NATIVE AMERICANS TODAY LESSON PLAN
HONORING BEARS EARS LESSON PLAN
Note: If you download and use these lesson plans, we encourage you to donate any amount to American Indian Services.
Additionally, we would like to share some helpful educational resources to assist you in your journey towards learning more about Native American culture/history:
SMITHSONIAN, NATIONAL MUSEUM OF THE AMERICAN INDIAN
Explore educational resources including lesson plans and lesson resources, search the museum's Native-centered primary source materials, and explore professional development workshops for teachers and virtual field trips for students at the National Museum of the American Indian site here.
A comprehensive article by Indigenous-led NGO, Cultural Survival detailing 8 ways to decolonize and honor Native Peoples on Thanksgiving, found on their site, here.
SAMPLE LETTERS TO SEND TO YOUR CHILD'S SCHOOL ABOUT THANKSGIVING
View and customize sample letters to send to your child's school or teacher advocating for the teaching of accurate history and an inclusive approach to discussing Thanksgiving. You can also explore a number of other resources for educators and families including lesson resources, book lists, etc. All are available here.
UTAH EDUCATIONAL NETWORK (UEN)
Explore a wide variety of learning resources on Native Peoples, designed to help students, teachers, and parents on the Utah Education Network's site, here.
Scholastic has compiled a list of 11 nonfiction books about Native American Nations to help children in grades 1-5 learn about the diverse history and culture of various Native American tribes, available here.
PBS NATIVE AMERICAN HERITAGE MONTH (Lesson Plans)
For Native American Heritage Month, PBS is spotlighting their Native American Heritage Collection, including short videos, media galleries, documents, interactive resources, and two lesson plans. We highly recommend the lesson plans, available on their site, here.
NATIVE PEOPLES APPROVED BOOK RECOMMENDATIONS
Native American Children's Literature recommended reading list curated by Dr. Debbie Reese, organized by grade level and found here.
BYU NATIVE AMERICAN CURRICULUM INITIATIVE (Lesson Plans)
Explore a number of Native American lesson plans developed by representatives from local tribes and BYU Arts educators, vetted in elementary classrooms, and approved by tribal councils, on their site, here.
*Meredith Little Lam grew up in Page and Prescott, Arizona. She is a proud member of the Diné (Navajo) tribe. Meredith has 3 children and has resided in Provo for 15 years. She has a Bachelor's degree from BYU in English and two minors in History and American Indian Studies.
Meredith currently serves as the Project and Program Manager for American Indian Services (AIS, a non-profit scholarship organization) and the Native American Education Director for Provo City School District. As the Project and Program Manager and Native American Education Director Meredith is in charge of overseeing the education of Native American students and the development of new programs; such as the AIS Trade School Scholarship Program and the Alumni Program. Education and cultural preservation have always been important to Meredith so working with AIS and Provo City School District have been dream jobs because they allow her to serve Native American/Alaska Native students through their pursuit of education.