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Resources for Teaching About Indigenous Peoples 

Here are resources to help you educate students honestly and accurately about Native history and the people whose land we occupy.  
Alaska totem pole carving art sculture
Published: October 3, 2022 Last Updated: September 7, 2023

Educators should be mindful of cultural appropriation when teaching about other cultures and understand that Native American students in class may experience lessons differently than non-Native students. 

Indigenous People’s Day Resources 
The Zinn Education Project has lessons, books, and films to examine for teaching the truth about Columbus, “Indian Removal” policies, and Indigenous Peoples’ history. 

Celebrate Indigenous People Lesson Plan (PDF) 
In this activity from IllumiNative, elementary school students will make a booklet to celebrate the contributions of Native Americans. 

Transforming Teaching and Learning About Native Americans
Teaching and learning about Native Americans can occur in meaningful ways across different subject areas. Use these resources, from the Smithsonian Museum of the American Indian Native Knowledge 360° Education Initiative to bring new ways of thinking Native Americans to multiple disciplines, including science, English language arts, and social studies.

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.

Living Nations, Living Words: A Guide for Educators 
This guide offers teachers and other educators ideas for using U.S. Poet Laureate Joy Harjo's signature project, "Living Nations, Living Words," in the classroom. The project gathers and highlights the diverse voices of 47 contemporary Native American poets.

Native Now: The Dos and Don’ts of Talking Respectfully about and with Native People from IllumiNative (PDF)

Indigenous Storytellers Share Scary Stories and the Wisdom They Hold
Four Indigenous storytellers recite a scary tale and share a little about the meaning behind these chilling yarns. 

NEA's Land Acknowledgement Guide
Land Acknowledgements are a reminder that every major city, town, and municipality benefits from the dispossession of Indigenous land and people. It is a formal recognition of that painful reality and history and a small first step in truth, healing, and reconciliation. This guide outlines why land acknowledgements are important, how to approach them, and includes further actions to support Indigenous communities. 

Find more resources for teaching about Native Americans at our American Indian and Alaska Native Heritage Month resource page. 

Recommended Books About Indigenous Peoples from NEA and Read Across America

Share stories of Indigenous Peoples and cultures in your classroom with these titles and related resources. 




Voices of

“There’s a lot of inequity in some of our Native, small, and rural districts. It is time for us to call for a more equitable system to provide our students with the quality education they all deserve and pave the way for those future Native educators we hope will take our place.”
Shawn Brehm, K-12 Music Teacher

Native American Educators

“I believe we still have a long way to go to provide our students with both an understanding of, and pride in, their culture and equal opportunity. But I see a bright future in the students that I teach who increasingly are excited about these issues and want to understand them and take action.”
Jordann Lankford, Immersion Teacher and Indian Education for All Facilitator

Join the community of activists committed to advancing social and racial justice in public education

Ensuring opportunity for ALL students to succeed – regardless of ZIP code – is going to take all of us doing our part.
Dr. Star Yellowfish with Junior Miss Seminole Nation, an Oklahoma City high school student in the Native American Student Services program

Native Educators Say Thanksgiving Lessons Can Be Accurate, Respectful, and Fun—Here’s How

Whether you’re teaching tots or teenagers, celebrate your best Thanksgiving lesson ever by teaching an accurate history of the holiday.
National Education Association

Great public schools for every student

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.