Blog by: Trelasa Baratta, Education Specialist, Redbud Resource Group
A month-by-month resource guide
Native American Heritage Month is a great time to celebrate American Indian ancestry, culture, traditions and values in your classroom. But we’re here to tell you that Indigenous knowledge doesn’t need to remain confined to a single month of the year, or to a single subject! There are many ways to include Native-centered content into your daily curricula.
We’ve organized a timetable of lesson ideas and resources to help you diversify your classroom content every month of the school year. We are grateful to all of the Native organizations and educators who are working to create easily accessible resources for the younger generations. Kahúyka!
Start the school year off with Geography from a Native perspective to understand the places we live.
Visit Native-Land.ca’s Teacher’s Guide for more lesson ideas.
Keep an eye out in August for Redbud’s Professional Development Trainings! Here’s a link to one of our 2022 trainings, focused on integrating Native geography into the classroom.
The fourth Friday of September is California Native American Day. This is a great opportunity for students to conduct mini-research projects on California Native Tribes and organizations.
Here’s a list of California Tribes by county
Why are there counties without recognized Tribes? Learn more about California’s non-recognized Tribes here
Native American Heritage Commission’s Digital Atlas of California Native Americans is also a great resource for information on specific tribes, both federally recognized and non-recognized.
September is also Suicide Prevention Month and Hispanic Heritage Month!
Here’s a list of Resources for Suicide Prevention among Indigenous youth provided by SAMHSA
Check out this book list curated by Social Justice Books for the Teaching Central America project. Compare stories and values shared between Native American and Indigenous Central American communities.
September 30th is a day marked for observing Orange Shirt Day, a commemoration which aims to raise awareness about the traumatic impacts of Indian boarding schools. Here are some of our favorite education resources on the subject:
When We Were Alone by David A. Robertson (for young readers)
National Museum of the American Indian - chapter on Boarding Schools
Alaska Children’s Trust - Orange Shirt Day Educator’s Toolkit
The National Native American Boarding School Healing Coalition - free curriculum for all grade levels
Illuminative.org - Addressing Historical Trauma: The Indian Boarding School Era (grades 6-8)
The second Monday of October is celebrated across the U.S. as Indigenous People’s Day. The holiday is celebrated on the same day as Columbus Day, a holiday which commemorates a colonizer largely responsible for the decimation of an entire tribal community, the Taínos. It’s important to talk about this clash of recognition in the United States.
We highly recommend purchasing Rethinking School’s Rethinking Columbus textbook, to be used leading up to a trial role play that asks students to determine who is responsible for the death of millions of Taínos on the island of Hispaniola in the late 15th century.
Also see Indian Country Today’s list of Teaching Resources here, and
Learning For Justice: Why Do We (Still) Celebrate Columbus Day?
Windsor, CA and Sebastopol, CA are the only two cities that observe the month of October as Pomo Honoring Month. Have your students find out how your county honors its local Tribes!
In preparation for Halloween…
Check out our blog on cultural appropriation here to start thinking about stereotypes and appropriate behavior around people’s cultures and identities.
For more on Native stereotypes, download Illuminative’s definitive guide on representation: The Time is Now
NATIVE AMERICAN HERITAGE MONTH! Redbud Resource Group highlights and curates resources all month long, so sign-up for our Newsletter, follow us on social media, and stay in-the-know on everything NAHM!
Here are some highly recommended lesson resources to check out in preparation for this month:
Illuminative.org’s free lesson plans
Redbud’s “Acorns All Around Us” unit, designed for Pre-K to 2nd grade students
The California Indian Museum and Cultural Center’s curriculum YouTube channel
The winter solstice is an important time of year for Indigenous communities worldwide. Before students depart for winter break, explore the importance of winter:
What kinds of activities do they do with their families during the winter?
Where are some of their favorite places to visit?
Lake Tahoe is a popular destination for many Californians in the wintertime; dedicate some time to learning about its original inhabitants, the Washoe.
Happy New Year!
Craft an activity around the Redbud Wellness Model to promote health and well-being in the New Year.
Watch the video and/or read about our model and have a conversation with your students. Would their central and overlapping factors look the same as someone from a different culture?
Download our free Activity Sheet for your students to complete! What are some of the barriers your students face in achieving health and wellness in their own lives? How do they overcome those barriers; do they practice ceremony? Play on a sports team? Meditate?
Black History Month
Native and Black American histories have many overlapping stories.
Check out this article: Alicia Roberts: I’ve Been Here All the While: Black Freedom on Native Land
If you use the Indigenous People’s History of the US in your class, have your students read about the Buffalo Soldiers in Chapter 8: “Indian Country.”
National Women’s History and National Nutrition Month
Highlight the importance of celebrating women; read Native Hope’s 2022 blog post “Celebrating Native Women.”
This is a great month to implement Redbud’s newly updated unit Healthy Ecosystems Feed Healthy Communities which has an entire section on Indigenous foods and nutrition.
National Environmental Education Week, April 17-21: Every day is Earth Day in Native education! Here are some great science-based resources from Native perspectives.
Save California Salmon - Traditional Ecological Knowledge, Science, and Management (NEW!) and Advocacy and Water Protection in Native California, for middle and high school students
Redbud Resource Group - “Our Ecosystems” designed for 4-5th grade students
National Museum of the American Indian - American Indian Responses to Environmental Challenges, for middle and high school students
Support Native authors!
Social Justice Books - American Indians Booklist
News from Native California - Blog by Emily Clarke, Native American Heritage Month Reading List
April 16th is Jim Thorpe Day!
May is Mental Health Awareness Month, and May 5th is the National Day of Awareness for Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women.
Check out We R Native’s website for a plethora of resources around both of these topics.
Lakota People’s Law Project also has a rich list of resources and information on MMIW.
Display the final products of this craft project along with facts and questions about MMIW in your classroom or home windows
The end of the school year coincides with National Great Outdoors Month!
Check out Redbud’s lesson “Repairing Relationship to Place,” designed for high school students, for some low-key activity ideas to do with your students going into the camping season
Be sure to sign up for our newsletter and stay tuned for Professional Development opportunities by Redbud Resource Group for the 2023/2024 school year!