Teaching Ideas

Native American Heritage 2023

Native American Heritage Month

Acknowledge and celebrate the Indigenous peoples of North America through their stories. While every November is Native American Heritage month, you can incorporate Native American titles and resources throughout the year. Here are some resources to help you build an appreciation for and raise awareness of the histories and contemporary experiences of Native peoples, and inspire student reflection in your learning spaces.

  • Celebrate, include, and uplift Native voices with titles and resources from this updated and expanded collection of curated lists, such as Native Writers, Read Native Challenge, Indigenous Representations for Teachers and Learners, and Giving Thanks: Indigenous History, Food and Gratitude, and more.

  • Feature books and resources by and about Native Americans that have been honored by the American Indian Youth Literature Award. Create bookmarks or embed these award winners to share them with readers!

  • Learn the Cherokee words for the four seasons in this video book trailer for We Are Grateful: Otsaliheliga. Then, students can use the activity template found on this page to think about and draw traditions or activities they do over winter, spring, summer and fall.

  • Find new and authentic options for texts to teach in this list titled Read Alikes for Island of the Blue Dolphins, from the SLJ and NCTE’s Refreshing the Canon series.

  • Watch the video book trailer for Everything You Wanted to Know about Indians But Were Afraid to Ask (Young Readers Edition) and reflect with your students on the question asked: “Why are Native Peoples often imagined rather than understood?”

  • Share a glimpse of Powwow culture and modern day Native American life by listening to this Meet-the-Author Recording and viewing the accompanying illustration for Powwow Day by Traci Sorrell.

  • Search our entire American Indian Collection for additional titles and resources to incorporate into your lessons and programming.

  • Introduce your students to important and influential Native American figures from history:

    • Watch this book trailer for Classified: The Secret Career of Mary Golda Ross, Cherokee Aerospace Engineer to learn about this inspirational Cherokee woman.
    • Watch this complete video reading of Chester Nez and the Unbreakable Code: A Navajo Code Talker's Story to see how the Navajo language Nez was told to forget in boarding school became instrumental to the war effort. Then reflect on the importance of heritage.
    • Search our American Indian Collection and filter by genre (biography) to find additional titles and resources about Native American people.

  • Make meaningful connections to Indigenous history for students by utilizing ideas in this educator guide from What the Eagle Sees: Indigenous Stories of Rebellion and Renewal.

  • Honor names by learning from three Indigenous women and their different walks of life:
    • Darcie Little Badger shares her identity as a scientist and writer.
    • Tanaya Winder explains how she takes pride in the pronunciation of her name from an elder.
    • Tasha Spillett discusses the significance behind her surnames and Indigenous name.