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Susan O'Rourke | May 25, 2022

UNC World View is pleased to announce the launch of the 2021-2022 Fellows Program Curriculum, Exploring Indigenous Cultures: Ancient North Carolinians, Past and Present. The lessons were developed through collaboration between K-12 and community college educators, UNC’s Research Laboratories of Archaeology (RLA), and the UNC American Indian Center. UNC World View Associate Director Julie Kinnaird shares that the program brought together “North Carolina educators [from] a variety of disciplines in K-12 schools and community colleges so students can learn about the ancient peoples that lived here and those who represent today’s vibrant American Indian populations.”

A diverse set of lessons to be used in many grade levels and across subject areas was produced by Fellows from all across North Carolina. For example, humanities instructors might explore lessons that dive into the connections between Shakespearean drama and Indigenous cultures while STEM instructors might incorporate lessons on environmental racism or studying arcs alongside the atlatl. Regardless of subject, all lessons developed through the Fellows program integrate the resources found on the Ancient North Carolinians: A Virtual Museum of North Carolina Archaeology website. This website, developed by the RLA, tells the story of the people who lived in North Carolina from 15,000 years ago to the early eighteenth century—the ancestors of today’s American Indians. The comprehensive website allows users to discover archaeology in their part of North Carolina, learn about American Indian and Colonial heritage, explore driving trails of archaeological and historical sites, and much more. There are also video galleries and 3D models of ancient objects, from stone spearheads and knives, to ceramic pots, to animal bone tools and ornaments. This virtual museum is a valuable resource for educators and the newly created lessons will help bring the site to North Carolina classrooms.

The lesson plans, Julie affirms, will get students thinking more deeply about “past indigenous lifeways—their complexity, resiliency, and vitality—[and] the contributions American Indians….continue to make to the present and future of North Carolina.”

Click here to read the site introduction and here to browse these downloadable lessons by grade.

Thank you to all the 2021-2022 Fellows for their work in bringing the diversity of Indigenous history and contemporary culture to light and a special thank you to the UNC’s Research Laboratories of Archaeology (RLA), and the UNC American Indian Center for their support of this program. To learn more about each Fellow click here.