In 2021, Indigenous Peoples’ Day, first celebrated in California in 1992, was proclaimed by the President as a federal holiday to be observed on the same day as Columbus Day, which is established by Congress. Explore the day from many angles through primary source documents, guided readings and essays, videos, and lesson plans.
American Indian Sovereignty
In this lesson, students will learn about how the U.S. Constitution defined relations between the United States and Native nations; important events in the history of American Indians’ sovereignty in the United States; and the 2020 landmark Supreme Court decision in McGirt v. Oklahoma in which the Court affirmed the federal government’s responsibility to honor treaty obligations.
NHD Breaking Barriers: Americans and Native Americans
From the colonial era, relations between European settlers and Native American nations have been complicated. In 1803 Congress authorized and funded an expedition led by Meriwether Lewis and William Clark for exploration of the region and for better knowledge about American Indians of the Northwest in order to develop trade. About 30 years later, the United States forced the removal of Native Americans from their lands to make way for white American settlement. Congress and the president made treaties with Native American nations, but those treaties were not always respected as the United States continued to expand into the west. After Native Americans enlisted and served in both World War I and World War II, Congress passed legislation to begin to address longstanding Native Americans claims against the United States Government.
Not “Indians,” Many Tribes: Native American Diversity
In this unit, students will heighten their awareness of Native American diversity as they learn about three vastly different Native groups.
Native American Cultures Across the U.S.
Teaching children about the First Americans in an accurate historical context while emphasizing their continuing presence and influence within the United States is important for developing a national and individual respect for the diverse American Indian peoples, and is necessary to understanding the history of this country.
Anishnabe/Ojibwe/Chippewa: Culture of an Indian Nation
This lesson provides information and activities about one American Indian Nation, the Anishinabe, called Ojibwe in Canada and Chippewa in the U.S., and engages students in research on its history, location, and past and present culture.
Indian Boarding Schools Primary Source Set
Through photographs, letters, reports, interviews, and other primary documents, students explore the forced acculturation of American Indians through government-run boarding schools.
American Indian Reservation Controversies
Reservation Controversies covers historic issues dealing with American Indian Reservations in the 1870s. This experience uses problem based learning (PBL), in which the student is confronted or faced with a real world problem which has no preconceived right or wrong answers. This scenario puts the student as prospective Indian Agent for the Comanche Indian reservation in 1873. Using various teaching/learning strategies, which include brainstorming, role playing, and oral presentations, the students access primary sources and other background sources to arrive at a recommendation, based on the information. The teacher, librarian, and other support staff act as guides or advisors through most of the process.
This lesson examines the varied structures and functions of tribal government as well as the relationship these nations have with the United States.
Native American-European Contact in Colonial Times
Drawing on the concept of worldview, students learn to think critically about the cultural differences between Europeans and Native Americans, and how those differences shaped interaction and potential misunderstandings between the groups as they negotiated trade and diplomatic relationships.