American Indian Heritage Month
American Indian Heritage Month Lesson Plans
In 1990, Congress proclaimed November National American Indian Heritage Month. The president issues a proclamation each year in honor of the event. In 2001, the presidential proclamation began:
“The strength of our Nation comes from its people. As the early inhabitants of this great land, the native peoples of North America played a unique role in the shaping of our Nation’s history and culture. During this month when we celebrate Thanksgiving, we especially celebrate their heritage and the contributions of American Indian and Alaska Native peoples to this Nation. … Their unique spiritual, artistic, and literary contributions, together with their vibrant customs and celebrations, enliven and enrich our land.“
The proclamation further called on all Americans to “learn more about the history and heritage of the Native peoples of this great land. Such actions reaffirm our appreciation and respect for their traditions and way of life and can help to preserve an important part of our culture for generations yet to come.” – The Library of Congress
- This lesson compares the cultures and feelings of Native Americans and Pilgrims (K)
- Here are five ideas for a unit on Alaska: (K-3)
- Here are lessons from a big multidisciplinary unit on Rocks: (1-2)
- Dreamcatchers are the center of this Native American culture and “all-about-me” lesson activity (1)
- This lesson involves planting a Native American garden (1-4)
- This is a collection of activities to teach about Native Americans (2-6)
- Here is another collection of activities to teach about Native Americans (2-6)
- Sioux Indian village dioramas are the outcome of this lesson (3)
- In this lesson, students learn about the Sioux Indians and make tortilla teepees (3)
- The object of this lesson is to make a Native American word booklet (3)
- Here are three Native American craft ideas (3)
- Native American culture, lifestyles, and contributions are shared in this research lesson (3)
- Southwest Experience Unit (3-4)
- This art and social studies lesson is on Navajo sand paintings (3-5)
- This unit on Native Americansties in with another unit on this site – Charlotte’s Web and Spiders (3-5)
- Here is a lesson plan on Navajo poetry and culture (3-6)
- This lesson on the Haida and Iroquois Indians can be adapted to the study of any Native American culture (3-6)
- Here are instructions for creating the Hawaiian ‘Uli ‘Uli musical gourd instrument used in hula dances (3-6)
- In this lesson, students learn about the culture and the customs of the Seminole tribe. (4)
- Students write their own Native American myth in this lesson (4)
- Here students demonstrate understanding of patterns and geometric shapes while creating Native American wall hangings (4-5)
- Here the housing and tools of early Native Americans, European settlers and modern day life are compared (4-5)
- Here’s a well-written unit on Native Americans, their culture, and their Americanization (4-6)
- In this lesson, students learn about Columbus Day from two perspectives (4-6)
- These Native American “leather” stories make a great Thanksgiving hallway display (4-8)
- This Native American lesson involves painting an event, story, or person from Native American history (5)
- Here is a technology-rich Native American unit (5)
- Chief Seattle’s letter and ecosystems are the topics of this great ecology lesson (5-6)
- In this lesson, students create model Native American homes (5-6)
- Students create a “Tribal Fact Book” in this Native American lesson plan (5-6)
- Here’s an idea for students to create a Native American board game (5-6)
- Students develop and present the biographies of Indian Chiefs in this lesson (5-6)
- Here is a similar lesson using Venn Diagrams (5-6 )
- This Native American lesson uses “Bury My Heart At Wounded Knee” (5-6)
- This research lesson on tribes and colonists develops reading and writing skills (5-7)
- This is a Cherokee Tale of Good and Evil – Which one will win? (5-12)
- Here are several good ideas for a unit on the Trail of Tears (6-8)
- These ideas explore the complex relationships between Native Americans and European Settlers (6-8)
- Here students debate “Was Westward Expansion beneficial?” after studying the effects of Manifest Destiny on the growth of the United States and the decline of Native Americans living in the Great Plains (8-12)
- This webquest uses different search engines to research pro and con opinions on the changing of school Native American mascot names (9-12)
- This is a lesson on westward expansion and Native American displacement (10-12)
- This is an excellent four-part documentary on the history of Native American Indians
- Here are eleven culture Native American culture and historical events videos from History.com.
- See what Fat Albert and the Cosby Kids learn when Johnnie, a Hopi Indian boy, relates the difference between Native American culture and what’s seen in TV Westerns.
- “I am Anishinaabe” is a personal documentary about a young girl’s understanding of her Native American heritage and traditions.
- Find American Indian history and heritage videos from Smithsonian Education here including demonstrations of dance, music and crafts.
- This is a sampling of Native American history material from the Library of the Congress and partner agencies include webcasts, musical recordings, and unique sound artifacts, such as the stories of Native Americans.
- Here is a PBS video on the Trail of Tears.
- Listen to American Indian storytellers here.
- Explore over 100 videos showcasing Oklahoma’s 39 native tribes at Oklavision TV.
- Explore American Indian heritage through video performances and archival recordings of American Indian music, as well as contemporary pieces by innovative and traditional musicians here
- Here are videos and rare recordings of songs of the American Indian woman.
- This video teaches you how to trace your own Native American heritage
- Search for more Native American and American Indian activities, videos, audio files, and lesson plan resources at Hotchalk.com.
- Crayola offers crafts, coloring pages, and additional lesson plan activities to celebrate the month.
- Here is an amazing collection of Native American/First Nations lesson plans listed by tribes, peoples, and associations.
- This core knowledge craft-oriented unit claims to not be just another Native American lesson plan.
- Investigate probability with this Native American game from NCTM.
- Here are classroom-ready lesson plans about Native American history from the National Register of Historic Places Teaching with Historic Places site.
- Smithsonian Education collected extensive educator resources related to American Indian Heritage Month from “The Artic to the Andes.”
- The Defense Department hosts this site honoring Native American veterans.
- NativeTech is an educational website devoted to Native American technology and art.
- The Index of Native American Resources on the Internet links to resources of special interest to indigenous peoples in numerous categories.