Indigenous Peoples’ Day recognizes the historic and modern contributions of diverse Native peoples to the United States’ history and culture. For many activists who fought for recognition, this holiday also acknowledges the violence Christopher Columbus perpetuated onto Native tribes. In 2021, President Biden acknowledged Indigenous Peoples’ Day as an observed holiday in the United States.
AdoptAClassroom.org is providing a list of free resources to help you highlight Native folks on Indigenous Peoples’ Day and integrate Native voices into your curriculum year-round.
If you would like to support Indigenous educators, check out our Indigenous Language Fund. Keep reading to learn more.
Free Educational Resources for Indigenous Peoples’ Day:
Native Knowledge 360
Offered through the National Museum of the American Indian, Native Knowledge 360 (NK360) offers free educational resources and curriculum for teachers at many grade levels. NK360 offers curriculum on important history and civics subjects like Indian Removal, as well as curriculum to include Indigenous cultures in STEM and geography lessons.
Indigenous Peoples’ Day Resources from The Zinned Project
This set of curriculum from The Zinned Project encourages readers to think critically about popular stories of the conception of the United States of America. Their website offers many free teaching resources that must be downloaded to a computer.
When Rivers Were Trails
When Rivers Were Trails is an adventure game that tells the story of an Anishanaabeg person who is displaced from their traditional lands in what is now known as Minnesota and travels to California. This free to download game was designed by the Indian Land Tenure Foundation and Michigan State University’s Games for Entertainment and Learning Lab with many Indigenous contributors.
This game is a way to engage students in critical thinking in the spirit of games like The Oregon Trail.
Identify the tribes in your area!
Indigenous cultures are not a monolith, and it’s important to identify the tribes that historically and contemporarily share your area. Native-land.ca is an easy-to-use, crowd-sourced map that will help you and your students identify and connect with local tribes.
Indigenous Peoples’ Day is a great opportunity to introduce this resource into your classroom with older students. Native-land.ca also assembled a helpful teacher guide to help you utilize this resource in your classroom.
Introduce Indigenous Teen Activists to Your Students
Identifying peers who are active in social issues is a great way to engage your teenage students. DoSomething.org identified seven teen activists that you can introduce your students to as part of a daily lesson prompt or warm-up activity. You can also feature the work of worldwide indigenous activists to talk about climate justice in science courses or civic activism in social studies classes.
Joy Harjo’s Poetry
Joy Harjo was the US Poet from 2019-2022. A citizen of Muscogee (Creek) Nation, Harjo’s poetry often talks about her experiences as an Indigenous woman. Some of her poetry can be found for free on the Poetry Foundation website.
You can find a list, complete with additional poems, from other contemporary Native poets here.
Lee & Low’s Indigenous Booklist
One of AdoptAClassroom.org’s vendors, Lee & Low Books, is America’s largest book publisher specializing in diverse books. If you’re looking to add more stories featuring Native characters to your shelves, check out Lee & Low Books through AdoptAClassroom.org’s online marketplace.
Not registered? Register to be eligible for classroom donations here.
Support Indigenous Language Revitalization in Honor of Indigenous Peoples’ Day
As part of our commitment to supporting Indigenous voices in education, AdoptAClassroom.org launched our Indigenous Language Fund last year. The Indigenous Language Fund seeks to support language restoration in schools with a majority of Native students. We’re currently piloting the program at two schools in the Northern Plains region.
The preservation and continuation of Native languages is one of the most important issues facing modern Indigenous communities. As Dr. Anton Treuer, one of our Indigenous Language Fund advisors, said, “If we wait 50 years we will have lost literally thousands of languages. It’s that simple. Right now, there are 7,000 languages spoken on planet Earth and about 2,500 of them are severely endangered.”
You can learn more about our Indigenous Language Fund and make a donation in honor of Indigenous Peoples’ Day here.