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Holly Loranger | October 23, 2018

Native American Heritage month is celebrated each November as a way to acknowledge the important contributions of indigenous Americans and celebrate their diverse cultures, traditions and histories, both past and present.  Although a number of states designated “American Indian Days” as far back as 1915, President George H. W. Bush formally designated November as “National American Indian Heritage Month” in 1990.

Did you know that North Carolina is home to over 122,000 individuals who identify as American Indian? American Indians have lived in North Carolina for more than 12,000 years. North Carolina is home to the largest American Indian population east of the Mississippi River and the 8th largest Indian population in the United States.

To view a map of North Carolina’s Tribal Communities, click here.

North Carolina’s State Advisory Council on Indian Education provides a rich collection of culturally responsive instructional materials for teaching about American Indians, as well as working with indigenous youth. You can access them here.

The North Carolina Museum of History in Raleigh will host the 23rd Annual American Indian heritage Celebration on Saturday, November 17, 2018 from 11 am to 4 pm. You can find more information about this annual celebration here. The celebration features musicians, artist, storytellers, dancers and authors from North Carolina’s eight state-recognized tribes.

For additional resources for learning and teaching about Native Americans, both in the US and in North Carolina, see below.

Additional Resources:

  • The official Native American Heritage Month website
  • Native America, a four-part series on America’s First Peoples, premieres on PBS October 23, 2018. The website includes a number of multimedia features and resources, including maps, animated sacred stories and extended interviews.
  • The National Archives offers free webinars on using historical documents to teach about Native American history. These webinars are offered as part of the National Archives Native American professional development series. Find out more and register here.
  • The National Archives also offers a collection of primary sources and ready to use teaching activities connected to American Indians. Access the collection here.
  • Native Knowledge 360° is the National Museum of the American Indian’s national initiative to inspire and promote improvement of teaching and learning about American Indians. The site includes an Essential Understandings framework which builds on the ten themes of the National Council for the Social Studies curriculum standards. The site also includes lesson plans, online digital lessons and a variety of multimedia resources connected to a wide range of disciplines and grade levels. The Museum also publishes a quarterly magazine, accessible here.
  • Did you know that the National Park Service offers educator resources connected to a range sf subjects and grade levels? Search for educator resources related to American Indians at the NPS education website.
  • The Global Oneness Project believes in the power of using stories as a pedagogical tool for bringing the world’s cultures to the classroom. Focusing on cultural, environmental and social issues, they offer a library of free multimedia stories through films, photos essays and articles. The collections also include free companion curriculum and discussion guides. The thematic collection on “endangered cultures” explores the stories of indigenous peoples around the world.
  • Oyate is a Native organization working to see that Native lives and histories are portrayed with honesty and integrity. They have an online bookstore with appropriate materials and offer book reviews. Under their Resources tab, please especially see their sections on Thanksgiving and evaluating books for anti-Indian bias. And don’t miss the Living Stories section under Resources!
  • The American Indian Center at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill is a campus-wide center to advance the University’s overall mission of research, teaching and public service by creating an environment in which quality research, scholarship, and engagement related to American Indians is strengthened, nurtured and coordinated.
    • Interested in the history of American Indians on the campus of UNC-Chapel Hill? This link takes you to a virtual “Native Narrative Tour”.