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American Indian Education Knowledgbase

This KnowledgeBase archive includes content and external links that were accurate and relevant as of September 30, 2019.

The American Indian Education KnowledgeBase is an online resource to aid education professionals in their efforts to improve the education of American Indian students and close the achievement gap American Indian students have faced in public, Bureau of Indian Education, and other schools.

Task 6: Available Indian Education Curriculum in Repositories

Guideline: Culture-Based Education Repository (CBER) is an ongoing project of the National Indian Education Association (NIEA) designed to house culture-based education (CBE) curriculum aligned with Common Core State Standard (CCSS). The repository serves as a clearinghouse for quality curriculum respectful of cultural and traditional knowledge and utilizing innovative instructional strategies to ensure Native students succeed. The purpose of the CBER is to provide educators with authentic, cultural resources thereby increasing the educational knowledge of all students.



Southeastern American Indians of Alabama - Lesson Plans

By following the lesson plans and related activities, this website explores how American Indian cultures have existed in Alabama for over 12,000 years. These lesson plans follow from Paleo-Indians, arrived as early as 10,500 B.C., crossing over a land bridge made possible by the Ice Age to the resettling in 1830's to Oklahoma after the Trail of Tears.

Creating Culturally Dynamic Materials for Rural Culturally and Linguistically Diverse Exceptional Students

This 2004 Sage Journal article focuses on a variety of culturally dynamic methods and materials that have been developed for teachers of Mexican-American and Native American CLDE students in rural areas of Arizona. The instructional materials that are described can be easily adapted for use with other rural CLDE populations by changing the native language and native culture frame of reference to match those of the rural students in the local community.

In the White Man's Image (Video & Quiz)

This website summarized, "As settlers colonized the United States, they intruded on the culture and the land of Native Americans. Any anger or hostile behavior was regarded as proof of inferiority or savagery on the part of the American Indian.  The only way to remove this savage behavior was to recreate the native population in the white man's image."  'In the White Man's Image' video, set in St. Augustine, Florida, in 1875, reflects upon the ambitious experiment: to teach Native Americans to become imitations of white men. With the blessing of Congress, the first school for Indians was established in Carlisle, Pennsylvania, to continue this "civilizing" mission. Quiz/Flash Cards/Study Guide/Lesson Plan 

Indian Education Lesson Plans from Oklahoma Department of Education

This Oklahoma Department of Education website offers free, ready-to-use lesson plans for all teachers of Indian Education.  These lessons plans range from: the Indian perspective on Thanksgiving, American Indian culture, Indian Visual Arts, American Indian food, Tribal flags, Tribal dances, Code-talkers of World War I and World War II, and numerous American Indian native languages such as Cherokee, Choctaw, Chickasaw, Sac & Fox, Muscogee, and Comanche.

Practical Tips

Education of Native Americans (2018)

This April 2018 edition of 'Native Youth Magazine', explores the myriad of issues surrounding Native American Education.  Recent statistics from the Bureau of Indian Affairs have noted that between 29% and 36% of all Native American students drop out of high school. They mostly drop out between the 7th and 12th grades. These numbers are even higher in areas where parents of Native American children complain of a major lack in understanding of native culture.  In order to turn the tide on these statistics, a number of educational programs have been bolstered to provide even greater opportunities for Native American students. The federal government has created specialty internship and school scholarship programs that it hopes will help Native American youth succeed. Also, many schools have begun to take native culture more seriously


Native American Heritage Month Resources for Teachers

This November 2014 Indian Country Today article provides educators with a list resources, including perspectives, lesson plans and curriculum  for teaching about Native American history and heritage in the United States. Via this article, the author encourages teachers to help expand their horizons to go beyond the stereotypes, and really teach their students the true history of the Native people of this country.


Indian Education K-12 Curriculum (2013 - 2016)

This link is to the Minnesota Department of Education's K-12 curriculum framework for Indian education. Though intended for Minnesota schools, the framework may be useful to educators in other states.

American Indian Values Curriculum (2016) ; American Indian Sovereignty Curriculum (2013) ; American Indian Oral Traditions Curriculum (2013)

American Indian Music and Dance Curriculum (2013) ; American Indian Leadership Curriculum (2013) ; American Indian Art Curriculum (2013)

American Indian Contributions Curriculum (2013) ; American Indian Family Life Curriculum (2013) ; American Indian Harmony and Balance Curriculum (2013)

The Miseducation of Native American Students

This November 2016 Education Weekly article sheds lights on the thought that Autumn, the beginning of the school year, is the cruelest season for Native American students in the United States. Between sports games where entire crowds chant about "redskins" and other school mascots and the federal holiday of the Indian-killing mercenary Christopher Columbus, there is the misguided national celebration of "Thanksgiving" to mark the arrival of the religious Europeans, who set the stage for Native American genocide.   As November's recognition of Native American Heritage Month ends, educators should resist the urge to regurgitate the usual narrative and instead discuss the reality of life, historical and current, for the more than 600,000 Native American students in our nation's K-12 public schools.  The author wants educators to be aware of how these Native American stereotypes affect all children in schools today. Internalizing harmful images most acutely damages Native children, but absorbing racist and dehumanizing ideas about fellow classmates also diminishes the understanding and compassion of non-Native children, warping their conception of a history that often erases Native Americans altogether.  While distortions and myths of Native American culture plague many schools, textbooks often fail to mention Native history after the 19th century. In a 2015 study, scholars Antonio Castro, Ryan Knowles, Sarah Shear, and Gregory Soden examined the state standards for teaching Native American history and culture in all 50 states and found that 87 percent of references to American Indians are in a pre-1900s context. (Washington is the only state in the union that uses the word "genocide" in its 5th grade U.S. history standards and teaching of Native peoples' history.) In short, existing Native nations and land bases aren't identified, and Native people are dealt with as historical figures, implying their extinction.

NIEA Culture Resource Repository (K-12) Curriculum

Culture-Based Education Repository (CBER) is a project of the National Indian Education Association (NIEA) designed to house culture-based education (CBE) curriculum aligned with Common Core State Standard (CCSS). The repository will serve as a clearinghouse for quality curriculum respectful of cultural and traditional knowledge and utilizing innovative instructional strategies to ensure Native students succeed. The purpose of the CBER is not to endorse a particular curriculum, product, or template, but to instead provide educators of Native students with the best resources for increasing the educational attainment of Native students.

The NIEA Resource Repository is a dynamic digital library and network. Explore open education resources and join our network of educators and advocates dedicated to strengthening Native education systems.


*NEW video* Navajo Children Thrive in Native Language Immersion School

This video features how the University of New Mexico is taking part in a study that looks into how Indigenous Language Immersion schools can lead to better outcomes for Native American students.  Eva B. Stokely Elementary School in Shiprock, New Mexico is teaching its students in the Navajo language. School officials say the enrolled children are thriving academically as well as learning their cultural identity.

Native American Films for Public Broadcasting and Education

This Vision Maker Media website offers both the resources to create a Native American film for public broadcasting, and a searchable gallery of Native American films such as: A Blackfeet Encounter, A Native American Night Before Christmas, A Tattoo On My Heart, Aboriginal Architecture, the Apache 8, and Aleut Story.  The search feature can drill down to the 'Initiative or Areas of Interest' along with a 'Tribe or Group selection'. Some films have educational guides and/or viewer discussion guides for educational lesson plans.

The Apache 8

This 2011 documentary features the all-women wild land firefighting crew from the White Mountain Apache Tribe, who has been fighting fires on the Reservation and throughout the United States for more than 30 years. With humor and tenderness, four extraordinary women from different generations of the Apache 8 crew share their personal stories.  The film also has an Educational Guide and a Viewer Discussion Guide for lesson plans.


Educators Try New Methods to Save American Indian Languages

This October 2017 article addresses that the United States is home to 562 federally recognized American Indian Nations, each with its own language.Yet the number of Native Americans with the ability to speak their tribe’s language has decreased over the past century. Indian Nations are trying different ways to expand the number of native speakers, and increase interest in their communities to learn tribal languages.  Organizations are turning to modern technology. The Sealaska Heritage Institute, a nonprofit group, has developed a podcast and two apps for speakers of the Tlingit language. The "Learning Tlingit" app serves as a reference for important language topics such as conversation phrases, numbers, and letters. The Tlingit tribe has about 10,000 members. They live mainly in southeastern Alaska. But as of 2013, the tribe had only 125 native speakers left. This is low, considering that every other tribe in Alaska has a higher percentage of native speakers. In addition, very few young people are able to speak Tlingit.

Teaching Resources

This Humboldt State University website offers American Indian Teaching Resources.

The contents of this website were developed under a grant from the U.S. Department of Education and are intended for general reference purposes only. However, those contents do not necessarily represent the policy of the U.S. Department of Education or the Center, and you should not assume endorsement by the Federal Government. Some resources on this site require Adobe Acrobat Reader. This website archive includes content and external links that were accurate and relevant as of September 30, 2019.