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Native American and Alaska Native Heritage Month

Explore Native American culture with the following lessons, activities, and resources.
Native American NEA members
Published: 11/09/2020

Lesson Plans

Student-Centered Digital Learning Activities
Check out these digital education tools, lesson plans, and resources available for free and downloadable from the National Indian Education Association.

Interdisciplinary Stories, Webinars, Films, and Lesson Plans
The Global Oneness Project offers a library of multimedia stories comprised of award-winning films, photo essays, and essays, many with companion curriculum and discussion guides.

Create Your Own Native American Board Game
Students in grades K-5 research and use basic elements of a selected Native American tribe to create an original board game.

Native Americans Today
Students in grades 3-5 compare prior knowledge of Native Americans with information gathered while reading about contemporary Native Americans.

Alaska Native Stories: Using Narrative to Introduce Expository Text
Students in grades 3-5 use traditional stories of Native peoples to begin a study of animals in Alaska.

Thanksgiving Lesson Plans from a Native American Perspective

A Story of Survival: The Wampanoag and the English
A Thanksgiving Lesson Plan Booklet from a Native American Perspective (Oklahoma City Public Schools)

Harvest Ceremony: Beyond the Thanksgiving Myth, A Study Guide (National Museum of the American Indian)

American Indian Perspectives on Thanksgiving, Grades 4-8 (NMAI)

Additional Lesson Plan Units

Native American Dolls (PDF, 1.7 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.

Pourquoi Stories: Creating Tales to Tell Why
Students in grades 3-5 study three tales and learn about their cultures of origin, then work cooperatively to write and present an original pourquoi tale.

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

Background Resources

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.

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.

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.

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.

American Indian History Timeline  Events, policies, legislation and laws related to Indian land tenure from 1598 to the present.



Meet Jim Thorpe, a Real-Life Native American Superhero (grades 9-12)
Jim Thorpe, a.k.a. Wa-Tho-Huk (meaning Bright Path) was an Olympic-winning athlete, actor, and humanitarian. Learn more about his life and find opportunities to support Native American people.

Native American Cultures

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Jump to updates, opportunities, and resources for NEA state and local affiliates.
Wilma Mankiller

NEA Announces New Human and Civil Rights Award

The Wilma Mankiller Memorial award, which honors activist and Cherokee Nation head Wilma Pearl Mankiller, will be given out for the first time in 2021 to those who have made significant impact in American Indian/Alaska Native affairs, particularly in AI/AN education.
National Education Association

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The National Education Association (NEA), the nation's largest professional employee organization, is committed to advancing the cause of public education. NEA's 3 million members work at every level of education—from pre-school to university graduate programs. NEA has affiliate organizations in every state and in more than 14,000 communities across the United States.