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Native American Heritage Month


Celebrate American Heritage Culture Month

Celebrate the contributions of the first Americans during Native American Heritage Month, and discover a diverse population through art, music, and tradition. Thinkfinity lessons, activities, and interactives will help students develop a solid understanding of Native American culture.


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  • Lesson Plans
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Lesson Plans

Diagram It! Identifying, Comparing, and Writing About Nonfiction Texts

ReadWriteThink | Unit | K-2
Students compare the traits fact and fiction by using a Venn diagram to compare fiction and nonfiction books about Native Americans.

Native American Cultures Across the U.S.

EDSITEment | Lesson | K-2
This lesson helps dispel prevailing stereotypes and generalizing cultural representations of American Indians by providing culturally specific information about the contemporary as well as historical cultures of distinct tribes and communities within the United States.

Explore Pueblo Pots

Smithsonian's History Explorer | Lesson | K-4
Students will learn the meaning of imagery on two Pueblo pots by examining images and reading short excerpts from Native American folklore. They will then design their own pots by creating symbols and will explain the meaning of the symbols.

Alaska Native Stories: Using Narrative to Introduce Expository Text

ReadWriteThink | Lesson | 3-5
Tradition and technology come together in this lesson in which students learn about Alaskan animals through Native American tales and their own online research.

Early Multi-National Influences in the United States

EDSITEment | Lesson | 3-5
Beginning with Columbus's first landing in the New World, European nations laid claim to what would become the United States. Vestiges of that history are part of the American landscape. The lessons are designed to help your students make connections between European voyages of discovery, colonial spheres of influence, and various aspects of American culture.

Native Americans Today

ReadWriteThink | Lesson | 3-5
This lesson challenges students' views of Native Americans as a vanished people by asking them to compare their prior knowledge with information they gather while reading about contemporary Native Americans.

Not 'Indians,' Many Tribes: Native American Diversity

EDSITEment | Lesson | 3-5
Students will heighten their awareness of Native American diversity as they learn about three vastly different Native groups in a game-like activity using archival documents such as vintage photographs, traditional stories, photos of artifacts, and recipes.

Tracking the Buffalo Teacher Guide: Stories from the Buffalo Hide Painting

Smithsonian's History Explorer | Teacher Guide | 3-6
Explore the role buffaloes played in the lives of Native American of the northern plains by examining a buffalo hide painting and learning what items can be made from buffalo.

Sticks and Stones

Illuminations | Lesson | 3-8
Students will play Sticks and Stones, a game based on the Apache game "Throw Sticks," which was played at multi-nation celebrations. Students will collect data, investigate the likelihood of various moves, and use basic ideas of expected value to determine the average number of turns needed to win a game.

Battling for Liberty: Tecumseh's and Patrick Henry’s Language of Resistance

ReadWriteThink | Lesson | 6-8
Students study Patrick Henry's "Give Me Liberty or Give Me Death" speech and the ways Native Americans also resisted oppression through rhetoric and action.

Endangered Languages

Science NetLinks | Lesson | 6-8
This lesson introduces students to the science of linguistics and endangered languages.

Environment, Technology, and Culture of the Chumash People

Science NetLinks | Lesson | 6-8
In this lesson, students develop an understanding of the interrelatedness of technology, culture, and environment as illustrated by the Chumash culture.

Myth and Truth: The "First Thanksgiving"

ReadWriteThink | Lesson | 6-8
By exploring myths surrounding the Wampanoag, the pilgrims, and the "First Thanksgiving," this lesson asks students to think critically about commonly believed myths regarding the Wampanoag Indians in colonial America.

The Illusion of Race

Science NetLinks | Lesson | 6-8
This lesson helps students understand the ways that we have classified and defined groups and helps them understand basic genetic traits that we have inherited from our common ancestors.

Weaving the Threads: Integrating Poetry Annotation and Web Technology

ReadWriteThink | Lesson | 6-8
Students read a poem by a Native American, explore Native American culture, and then create a Website that explains words and phrases from the poem.

Common Visions, Common Voices

EDSITEment | Lesson | 9-12
The borders that separate and connect different cultures often come into sharpest relief when we focus on themes and motifs found in the literature or the visual arts of several lands. Students can discover such points of intercultural contact for themselves, crossing borders that can lead them to a broader perspective on the common vision human cultures share.

Influencing Cultures

Science NetLinks | Lesson | 9-12
Students explore what factors influence a change in culture amongst a community or group of people in this lesson.

Making Connections to Myth and Folktale: The Many Ways to Rainy Mountain

ReadWriteThink | Lesson | 9-12
Following the model of N. Scott Momaday's The Way To Rainy Mountain, students write three-voice narratives based on Kiowa folktales, an interview with an Elder, and personal connections to theme.


Can You Make Paint Out of Berries?

Wonderopolis | Video/Activity | K-12
Students learn if one can make paint out of berries, what the Native Americans use to make paint, and how one can make homemade paint out of things in their backyard.

How Teachers Can Make the Most Out of "When Worlds Collide"

EDSITEment | Resource | K-12
With links to lesson plans on the first one hundred years of the Spanish Empire in the New World, teachers will find a broad range of creative opportunities to help engage high school and middle school students in the recent NEH-funded PBS documentary, When Worlds Collide.

Map of Eastern North America

Smithsonian's History Explorer | Resource | K-12
This Dutch map, made about 1655, shows eastern North America from what is now Canada to Virginia. Illustrations within the map include bears, beaver, deer, foxes, turkeys, and rabbits, as well as Indian villages on land, and Indians in boats at sea. The lower right corner of the map contains an inset of Nieuw Amsterdam, the third known engraved view of that city which is now New York.

Native American Heritage Month - Celebrate "We Shall Remain"

EDSITEment | Resource | K-12
From the Mayflower to Wounded Knee in 1973, celebrate Native American Heritage Month with the PBS series We Shall Remain, funded in part by NEH.

The Road to Santa Fe: A Virtual Excursion

EDSITEment | Resource | K-12
Come along on a virtual road trip and discover the multilayered heritage of the peoples who call New Mexico their homeland.

What is a Totem Pole?

Wonderopolis | Video/Activity | K-12
Students learn what a totem pole is, why some cultures create totem poles, and what some of the symbols commonly found on totem poles mean.

What Was the Lewis and Clark Expedition?

Wonderopolis | Video/Activity | K-12
Students learn what the Lewis and Clark Expedition was, if Lewis and Clark did find the Northwest Passage, and how Sacagawea helped Lewis and Clark on their expedition.

Hudson Activities

National Geographic Education | Activity Collection | 1-8
In 1609 explorer Henry Hudson sailed from Amsterdam to the New World (North America), where he took a famous journey along the North River, which was later named after him. During their travels, Hudson and his crew encountered several groups of Native Americans living in the area that is now New York State. Learn more about these 17th century interactions in a series of activities, maps, and multimedia.

Trade in the 1600s

National Geographic Education | Activity | 1-2
Includes map, handout, and worksheet.

A History of Trade in New York City

National Geographic Education | Activity | 3-5
Includes map, handout, and worksheet.

Hudson River: Land Rights and Conflict

National Geographic Education | Activity | 6-8
Includes maps, videos, and a worksheet.

Tracking the Buffalo:  Stories from the Buffalo Hide Painting

Smithsonian's History Explorer | Interactive | 3-8
Explore the role buffaloes played in the lives of Native Americans of the northern plains by examining a buffalo hide painting and learning what items can be made from buffalo.

November is National American Indian Heritage Month

ReadWriteThink | Resource | 3-12
Students explore Native American heritage through the study of pourquoi tales, write their own original pourquoi tales, and use the ReadWriteThink Printing Press to publish them.

Fishing for Answers: Aquaculture Gives a Glimpse of Tla'amin People's Past

National Geographic Education | Article | 6-12
Tla’amin (TLAH-ah-mihn) people say they have lived in British Columbia, Canada, "from time immemorial." Learn how they are working to regain access to their traditional resources in this article.

Montezuma Castle and Well

National Geographic Education | Article | 6-12
Located in the Verde Valley of central Arizona, Montezuma Castle is one of the best-preserved prehistoric structures in North America. It is not actually a castle, but a pre-Columbian Pueblo Indian cliff dwelling. This article includes a map and photos.

Preserving Endangered Languages Using Digital Resources

Science Netlinks | Tool/Video | 6-12
This video addresses the subject of endangered languages. K. David Harrison claims that "really savvy language communities are using technology to sustain themselves, to expand their survive."

Pueblo Migrations

Science NetLinks | Podcast | 6-12
While the U.S. Census records shifts in modern demographics as people move from place to place, to get a count of people who lived more than a thousand years ago, only archaeological evidence can tell the story. In this podcast, you'll hear about a 20-year effort to learn what happened to the ancient residents of the American Southwest.

Rebuilt Language

Science NetLinks | Podcast | 6-12
The budget for a big Hollywood movie usually includes sets, costumes, and special effects. In this Science Update, learn about how a recent movie, The New World, also spent serious money reconstructing a dead language – Virginia Algonquin.

Saving Aleut

Science NetLinks | Podcast | 6-12
Archaeologists can spend a lifetime analyzing the artifacts of a lost civilization, in order to piece together a picture of that ancient culture. But a project now underway aims to document one Alaskan culture before it's lost.

Thanksgiving and Harvest Celebrations

Smithsonian's History Explorer | Podcast | 6-12
National Museum of American History curator Rayna Green discusses the history of the Thanksgiving holiday and how we can use the study of food to understand American history.

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