Celebrating Native American Heritage Month in the Classroom

The rich ancestry and traditions of Native Americans will be celebrated in classrooms across the country this November for Native American Heritage Month.

Started by President Ronald Reagan during a week-long celebration in 1986, the month of November has been designated by every President since as a time to celebrate Native American heritage.

This year’s proclamation by President Joe Biden states: “Native American roots are deeply embedded in this land — a homeland loved, nurtured, strengthened, and fought for with honor and conviction. This month and every month, we honor the precious, strong, and enduring cultures and contributions of all Native Americans and recommit ourselves to fulfilling the full promise of our Nation together.”

In schools, students will learn about the accomplishments and contributions of Native Americans to society, as well as the many hardships endured as a people throughout the years.

Teachers are finding ways to bring music and dance, art and family traditions of American Indian and Alaska Native cultures into the classroom.

From the Open Up Resources teacher communities, we’ve heard how some educators are planning to incorporate Native American Heritage Month into their curriculum. Two Community Coaches share below:

“Our school is celebrating and honoring Native Americans during our morning meetings, in which we have a google slide show that all staff will contribute to about Native American History. The slide shows will have information, short biographies, read aloud books and/or videos about Native American people and culture. I am planning to add a craft activity to do with my class. Students will learn the meanings and culture of totem poles, animal meanings and traditions.” 

- Theresa Wills

“In my classroom, we read the new book Fry Bread: A Native American Family Story. It is a bilingual book using Navajo-English and Ojibwe-English. It describes a Native American dish that is able to be shared among family and friends. The students loved the beautiful and vibrant illustrations!” 

- Iysha Dent

How will your school participate in sharing Native American ancestry, traditions and contributions this month? Let us know on Twitter @openupresources.