November is Native American Heritage Month, a time to recognize the contributions the first Americans made to the establishment and growth of the United States. Teaching Native American history and culture has an important place in the classroom.
The School Violence Prevention Demonstration Program (SVPDP) of the Center for Civic Education has developed the Native American Compendium, a collection of lesson adaptations to the existing Foundations of Democracy curricula used in SVPDP. These lessons are connected to the customs, traditions, history, and realities of the native children involved in the program. These adaptations include—but are not limited to—the addition of tribal legends, substitution of certain activities, enhancements to existing activities, and the addition of content specific to a native tribe or nation.
For some years, the We the People program has held the Navajo Nation Experience seminar, which focuses on Navajo history, culture, and government. Participants interacted with Navajo scholars, educators, and governmental officials, and visited historical sites including Canyon de Chelly and Monument Valley. The participants also discussed how to include teaching about the Navajos and important Native American issues in their classes. These teacher resources are now available on the Navajo Nation Experience seminar webpage.
Other useful resources are found on the Smithsonian National Museum of the American Indian, the Library of Congress, and the Department of Defense.