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Rethinking Thanksgiving Celebrations: Native Perspectives on Thanksgiving

Dear educators and families,

Please see this message from the National Museum of the American Indian:

“Between Thanksgiving and Native American Heritage Month, November is brimming with opportunities for teaching and learning about Native America. Giving thanks is a longstanding and central tradition among most Native communities that is still practiced today. Share more about Native peoples’ vibrant, ongoing traditions of giving thanks with the museum’s teaching poster American Indian Perspectives on Thanksgiving. Learn more about the museum’s programs for educators, and register today!”

Teaching/Learning Opportunities:

Native Knowledge 360° and Teaching for Change Virtual Teach-In: Indigenous Education

Saturday, November 4

12:00 p.m.–3:00 p.m. ET | Online

Cost is $15, and registration is required.

Teachers play a crucial role in advancing the museum’s work to transform popular understandings of Native histories, cultures, and contemporary lives. Join the Smithsonian’s National Museum of the American Indian and Teaching for Change for a day of online conversation, curriculum highlights, and ideas exchange. The teach-in will be held virtually via Zoom. The goal of the Teach-In is to support awareness of the museum’s Native Knowledge 360° (NK360°) national education initiative and its classroom lessons, which promote improved teaching about American Indian communities. Find more information and how to register here

edX Online Course

Foundations for Transforming Teaching and Learning about Native Americans

Free, but registration is required.

This continuing education course, hosted by the Smithsonian’s National Museum of the American Indian and edX, will broaden your knowledge about the impact harmful narratives have on Indigenous people and how you can recognize and share more complete narratives. Learn more about the course and register here.

School Group Reservations for the imagiNATIONS Activity Center in New York

Reserve now to bring your students for a self-guided tour of the imagiNATIONS Activity Center at our New York museum. This interactive center provides visitors with a lively space to explore scientific principles behind Native innovations and technologies, many of which remain a part of our daily lives. The experience will leave teachers and students with a key takeaway—Indigenous people are the original innovators of the Americas. Open Tuesday through Sunday, 10:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

Rethinking Thanksgiving Celebrations: Native Perspectives on Thanksgiving

NK360° Helpful Handouts: Guidance on Common Questions provide brief introductions for teachers to important topics regarding Native American lives, cultures, and communities. Use Rethinking Thanksgiving Celebrations, which shares Indigenous perspectives on Thanksgiving, to help address incomplete narratives surrounding this quintessentially American holiday. Culturally sensitive activities and resources related to Thanksgiving are included

Harvest Ceremony: Beyond the Thanksgiving Myth Study Guide

Native American people who first encountered the “Pilgrims” at what is now Plymouth, Massachusetts, play a major role in the imagination of the American people. Use this study guide to share a more accurate history of the Wampanoag people and their life today

Honor Native Veterans with Native Words, Native Warriors

During World War I and World War II, hundreds of American Indians joined the United States Armed Forces and used words from their traditional Native languages as weapons. Some used their languages informally while others were recruited by the United States military to develop and use secret battle communications based on their languages. Native Words, Native Warriors tells the stories of these military heroes known as “ Code Talkers.”

Selecting Indigenous Images for Your Classroom

Teachers examine why commonly used imagery and language about Native peoples are detrimental to student understanding of Native histories and cultures. Hear from celebrated Native American contemporary graphic artists Michael Sheyahshe (Caddo) and Dr. Lee Francis IV (Laguna Pueblo). 

Questions? contact NMAI-NK360@si.edu.