Tuesday, October 13, 2015

National Museum of the American Indian: Educational Resources

National Museum of the American Indian: Education Resources


Did You Know?

  • Do all Indians live in tipis?
  • What is the correct terminology: American Indian, Indian, Native American, or Native?
  • How many Indians lived in America before 1492?
  • Before Contact with Europeans, did Indians make all their clothes from animal skins?
  • Do Indians do rain dances?
  • Do Indians have to pay taxes?

Educator E-Newsletter

"Learn about the NMAI's educational resources—including curriculum for the classroom, teacher workshops, and educational strategies—in the museum’s free, quarterly teacher e-newsletter."
Available online as PDFs.
  • Spring 2015
  • Winter 2015
  • Fall 2014
  • September 2014
  • Spring 2014
  • March 2014
  • Winter 2014

Educator Programs

"Professional development opportunities for teachers at the National Museum of the American Indian can benefit educators in all subject areas. Workshops span a range of topics and enable teachers to discover analytical approaches to connect the museum's collections and content with classroom teaching strategies. Sessions help educators explore new content about American Indian cultures and history and encourage new methods for teaching with objects in the classroom. Workshops include take-home materials and classroom resources, as well as new ideas for interdisciplinary curriculum connections."

Classroom Lessons

Nations or Regions

  • Manhatta to Manhattan: Native Americans in Lower Manhattan (PDF available)
    • "In this booklet you will learn about the Native people of Lower Manhattan and the lasting impressions they left on this area"
  • The Haudenosaunee Guide for Educators (PDF available)
    • " It was our hope to provide educators with a deeper and more integrated understanding of Haudenosaunee life, past and present. This guide is intended to be used as a supplement to your mandated curriculum. "
  • We Have a Story to Tell: Native Peoples of the Chesapeake (PDF available)
    • " intended for use with students in grades 9-12. Ways of life before contact with Europeans are briefly introduced. This is followed by coverage of the period of colonization (1607) through the present. The guide focuses especially on how Powhatan, Nanticoke, and Piscataway peoples responded to the upheavals that began with the colonial period. It includes activities that fix attention on critical contemporary issues that affect Native communities in the region"
      • Introduction for Teachers
      • Reading
        • Native Peoples of the Chesapeake Region and the Enduring Effects of Colonialism
      • Small Group Project and Class Presentation
        • Issues of Survival for Native Communities of the Chesapeake Region
      • Maps, Resources, Works Cited
  • Lone Dog's Winter Count: Keeping History Alive (PDF available)
      • Grade Level 4-8.
      • "Students learn about the oral culture and history-keeping of the Nakota people, who made the Lone Dog Winter Count. Then they create a monthly pictograph calendar of their own to document a year of their personal history"


Expressive Traditions

  • Smithsonian in Your Classroom: Native Dolls (PDF available)
    • "In our lesson plan we present the perspectives and experiences of Native doll makers describing how their work is keeping old traditions and developing new ones. These Native voices encourage students to examine dolls from the collections of the museum and to connect them to the diverse cultures, communities, and environments they represent. "
      • Background
      • Lesson Plan
      • Navajo Dolls
      • Inupiat Dolls
      • Ojibwe Doll
      • Seneca Dolls
      • Seminole Doll
      • Map
  • Identity by Design (Exhibit website)
    • tradition, change, and celebration in native women's dresses
      • Introduction
      • 19th-Century Style
      • Full Circle of Life
      • Indigenous Innovation
      • Forming Cultural Identity
      • Dancing in Beauty
      • The Powwow World
      • Resources
  • Fritz Scholder Study Guide (Grades 5-8) (PDF available)
    • "This lesson explains abstract expressionism through an examination of a Scholder landscape painting titled New Mexico No. 1. Students will also learn how art can make a statement about identity by exploring Scholder’s life and examining other works, including Heart Indian. Students will create a self-portrait based on the style of Scholder."
  • Fritz Holder: Indian/Not Indian (Exhibit website)
    • Introduction
    • Biography
    • Works
    • Press
    • Resources
    • Programs
    • Podcasts
  • Fritz Scholder Guide for Young People (7 & Up) (PDF available)
    • "This guide provides parents and children with background information, questions, and suggestions to help focus on a few of the pieces in this exhibit. First, read the biographical information on the back. Then, open the guide and: find the artwork pictured. read the background information in this guide. look at the piece as a whole, and then the colors, texture, and other small details. talk about what you see and how it makes you think and feel. compare the piece to others in the exhibit."
  • Looking at Fritz Scholder (PDF available)
    • "This activity guide is designed for you and your family to use together as you explore the works of Fritz Scholder on display in this exhibition. "


  • American Indian Perspectives on Thanksgiving (PDF available)
    •  a resource for teachers to use as a jumping-off point for more in-depth discussion. Discussion and other classroom ideas are included in each section."
  • Harvest Ceremony: Beyond the Thanksgiving Myth (PDF available)
    • "Contemporary celebrations of the Thanksgiving holiday focus on the idea that the “first Thanksgiving” was a friendly gathering of two disparate groups—or even neighbors—who shared a meal and lived harmoniously. In actuality, the assembly of these people had much more to do with political alliances, diplomacy, and an effort at rarely achieved, temporary peaceful coexistence. Although Native American people have always given thanks for the world around them, the Thanksgiving celebrated today is more a combination of Puritan religious practices and the European festival called Harvest Home, which then grew to encompass Native foods."
      • The First People
      • The Immigrants
      • Contact
      • The Harvest Celebration
      • The Wampanoag Today
      • Afterword
      • Classroom Discussion Topics


  • Native Words | Native Warriors (Exhibit website)
    •  Introduction
    • Native Languages
    • Code Talking
    • Survival
    • Boarding Schools
    • Coming Home
    • Recognition
    • Lesson Plan
    • Resources
* Links provided are not all that are available on the National Museum of the American Indian
This post is intended to inform; not reproduce the NMAI's website.

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