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Teaching Children about Native Americans: Changing the Narrative

Posted by Stacy Dervin on

Teaching Children about Native Americans: Changing the Narrative

The Black Lives Matter movement has taught many white people, including myself, the importance of both awareness and action when it comes to being anti-racist. 

With that mindset, I've been researching and learning a ton this November, (Native American Heritage Month), in an effort to be the best parent, teacher and person I can be. A special thanks to Illuminatives.org for their work to educate allies. 

What follows is a list of activities and resources that I thought you might find helpful too!

Enjoy & please reach out if you have any questions!

Much Love, Teacher Stacy



Map Activity

Go to https://native-land.ca/ to see a map of tribes who lives on the lands where you live today. Which tribe(s) are indigenous to where you live? Which reservation were they moved to, and what is it called?

Video Activity

For my area, the closest reservation is the Confederated Tribes of the Siletz Indians. Click here to watch a 5 minute video made for Public Television about the culture & history of the Siletz tribe in Central Oregon. 
(Photo credit to the Confederated Tribes of the Siletz Indians: http://www.ctsi.nsn.us/multnomah-falls-siletz-news-events/)

Research Activity

It is important that children know that Native Americans do not only live in the past-- they are still here and an important part of our country! Learn about Deb Haaland, the first Native American elected to the US Congress. Other contemporary Native Americans include Bethany Yellowtail and John Herrington. Illuminatives.org created amazing curriculum featuring contemporary Indigenous changemakers fighting against invisibility and teaching about their many important contributions to this country. (Photo credit to Illuminatives 

 Cooking Activity

Read the book Fry Bread: A Native American Family Story written by Kevin Noble Maillard and Illustrated by Juana Martinez-Neal. Follow the recipe at the end of the book to make your own fry bread at home, and discuss what food is meaningful to your family and culture.

Art Activity

Read the book We Are Grateful: Otsaliheliga by Traci Sorrel. Go to MECCA's website to find a lesson plan and how-to video on how to make your own Fall Tree using wine corks as stamps. (I designed this lesson around this WONDERFUL book on behalf of MECCA!)

Parents as Models: Learn the New Narrative & Be a Good Ally

Other Resources

Best Books from American Indians in Children's Literature

The Future is Indigenous Coloring Book from Illuminatives

Buy Native!


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