While the concept of an Indigenous Peoples’ Day was first proposed in 1977 at a United Nations conference to combat discrimination against Natives, it wasn’t until 2021 that Indigenous Peoples’ Day was officially recognized at the federal level. This day is an opportunity to showcase Native American history and culture and highlight the violence imposed on them by explorers like Christopher Columbus. There is no set tradition on how to celebrate; it’s a day to reflect, educate, and celebrate the diversity of the Indigenous peoples. Here are 4 ways to celebrate Indigenous People’s Day with your students this year.
Discover which Native lands you inhabit
Identify and acknowledge which Native lands you and your students live on to highlight the culture and traditions of those Indigenous people who live locally. Click here for an interactive map to explore territories, languages, and even treaties based on geographic searches.
Take a Virtual Tour
If taking part in an in-person event to celebrate Indigenous Peoples’ Day is not an option, you can alwaystake your students on a virtual tour of Creation’s Journey and All Roads Are Good exhibits. These two exhibits are curated by the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of the American Indian, the Four Directions project, and the Bureau of Indian Affairs. What’s amazing about these exhibitions is that they were created by Native American students form the Four Directions Schools. Click here to take the virtual tour.
Resources to Enhance Your Teaching
The Smithsonian’s Native Knowledge 360° has resources to transform teaching and learning about Native Americans. They provide learning resources, including teacher toolkits. For this 2022 Indigenous People’s Day, you can catch their Youth in Action webinar series that you can watch live or on-demand. You’ll hear from young indigenous students on topics like promoting inclusive conversations in our nation’s classrooms. Click here to explore these webinars and more.
Also, PBS has a variety of historically accurate videos on Indigenous Peoples featured in their Native American Heritage Collection that you can share with students. Click here to discover videos.
Read about Indigenous Culture
Many K-12 texts don’t cover Native American topics past the 1900s. You can help students understand contemporary Indigenous culture through uplifting narratives. Click here to explore picture books for younger students from Diversebookfinder.org. Or share Howard Zinn’s “A People’s History of the United States,” a book that showcases American history from the perspective of minority populations starting from the arrival of Christopher Columbus. Learn more about this book by clicking here.
How are you celebrating Indigenous Peoples’ Day? Share with us in the comments below.