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Native American and Alaska Native Heritage Month, Grades 6-8

Explore Native American Culture with the Following Lessons, Activities, and Resources

Found In: language arts, social studies, 6-8

November is Native American Month and Alaska Native Heritage Month. Estimates of the population of the Western Hemisphere prior to the arrival of Europeans range from 8 million to more than 100 million. Cultures were as varied as the stationary Mayas in the Yucatan and the nomadic Plains Indians in North America. Explore Native American culture with the following lessons, activities, and resources.

Lesson Plans

Every Native Vote Counts: Teachers Guide & Lesson Plans
Resources to revitalize civic engagement among native peoples including tailored curriculum and lesson plans for grades K-8 to teach youth about the unique history and importance of the Native vote.

Weaving the Threads: Integrating Poetry Annotation and Web Technology
Students in grades 6-8 read poems by modern Native American writers, research key words and phrases in a selected poem, and create hyperlinked informational text.

Battling for Liberty: Tecumseh’s and Patrick Henry’s Language of Resistance
Students in grades 6-8 compare Patrick Henry's "Give Me Liberty or Give Me Death" speech with ways Native Americans resisted oppression through rhetoric and action.

Fighting Injustice by Studying Lessons of the Past
Students in grades 6-8 compare the Holocaust, Japanese-American internment during World War II, and the Cherokee Trail of Tears.

The Nez Perce and the Dawes Act
Students in grades 8-12 examine the expansion of the United States in the Pacific Northwest from the Nez Perce perspective and assess the Dawes Severalty Act of 1887 and its consequences.

Additional Lesson Plan Units

Native American Dolls ( PDF, 1.72 MB, 28 pgs.)
Students in grades K-12 explore the perspectives and experiences of Native doll makers from five tribal groups and discover how their work is keeping old traditions and developing new ones.

Prehistoric Native American Lesson Plan: Pottery-making Methods ( PDF, 5 pages, 295 KB)
Students in grades 3-12 experiment with three methods ancient people used to make pottery before the invention of the pottery wheel.

Native American Cultures Teacher's Guide
In this unit, students in grades 3-12 explore ancient and modern-day Native American cultures of New Mexico, Utah, and Washington.

Infectious Disease
Students in grades 6-8 examine the spread of infectious diseases from white settlers to Native Americans.

Native Americans Lesson Plans
Two lessons for grades 6-12 explore the Native American experience.

WebRangers Teachers' Guide ( PDF, 1.2 MB, 109 pgs.)


Background Resources

A History of Native Voting Rights
Provides a brief history of the difficulties Native Americans have faced in voting since the passage of the 14th Amendment.

Native American Heritage Month
Resources provided by the Library of Congress, National Archives and Records Administration, National Endowment for the Humanities, National Gallery of Art, National Park Service, Smithsonian Institution and United States Holocaust Memorial Museum. Features audio and video files.

Native Americans - Themed Resources - For Teachers (Library of Congress)
Primary source sets, lessons, exhibitions and presentations, and background information for students.

Twenty Tens Take on Native Americans
A blog providing information about the Plains, Southeastern, Southwestern, and Northeastern Native Americans, lesson plans, and children’s literature. Pages contain advertising.

Smithsonian Education - American Indian Heritage Teaching Resources
Free audio tracks and videos featuring Native communities from the Arctic to the Andes, indigenous geography, artic studies, textiles of the Southwest, traditional culture of the Bering Sea Eskimo People, buffalo hide paintings, and more

Charles C. Mann, author of 1491: New Revelations of the Americas Before Columbus and 1493: Uncovering the New World Columbus Created, presents current evidence about population and agricultural advancement in the Western Hemisphere prior to European arrival.

Myths and Stereotypes about Native Americans ( PDF, 90 KB 6 pgs.)
This article by Walter C. Fleming (Kickapoo) corrects misconceptions of Native Americans.

Printables & Posters


261 North American Indian Designs
Inexpensive collections of Native American designs adapted from textile patterns, wood carvings, ceramics, and other traditional craft forms.

American Indian Books
Dover Publications catalog has 202 books for American Indians, including backline masters, stories, CD-ROMs, crafts, games, and activities.




last updated: October 10, 2019


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Native Nations and American Schools: The History of Natives in the American Education System

Native Education 101: Basic facts about the education of American Indians, Alaska Natives, and Native Hawaiians. (1st ed.) Authored and copyrighted by the National Indian Education Association (2016).

This document serves as a guide for educators to utilize responsive education strategies and understand their Native students