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Resources for Teaching About Indigenous Peoples 

In honor of Indigenous People’s Day, 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: 10/03/2022

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. 

Youth in Action: Conversations about Our Future Free Webinars 
Hear from young Native activists and changemakers from across the Western Hemisphere working towards equity and social justice for Indigenous peoples. Topics vary each month. Hosted by the Smithsonian Museum of the American Indian, webinars are targeted to middle and high school students and available on-demand after airing. 

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. 

Project 52 Online Gallery 
Matika Wilbur created this multi-year national photography project dedicated to photographing over 562 federally recognized Tribes, urban Native communities, Tribes fighting for federal recognition and Indigenous role models in what is currently-known-as the United States, resulting in an unprecedented repository of imagery and oral histories that accurately portrays contemporary Native Americans.  

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

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 American Truth

We all deserve an education that imparts honesty about who we are, integrity in how we treat others, and courage to do what’s right. For too long, too many of us have been given little to no, or inaccurate, knowledge of Native history. Learn more deeply about Native peoples and help yourself and others realize our shared connections and make progress towards justice possible.
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.