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.
Purpose: To ensure educators, in support of American Indian students, understand the historical principles which guides the academic journey of these students, the challenges and barriers which impacts these efforts, and current trends and research which are the basis for Indian education programs today.
American Indian tribes negotiated a multiplicity of treaties with the U.S. government, which then imposed upon them a number of laws and policies to promote the educational development of American Indian children.
The federal government has responded to treaty provisions enacted between tribal governments and the United States which required educational support for American Indian children by developing and implementing educational programs in response to the federal trust responsibility of the U.S. Government. The following Tasks will outline that response to treaty obligations.
Purpose: Educators will increase awareness and understanding of the breadth and scope of cultural diversity that exists among American Indian tribal communities, as well as shared values and traditions of American Indian people.
Educators will understand:
Educators will understand the process of federal recognition of tribes, tribal enrollment, and treaty making that has impacted American Indian tribal people since the founding of the United States. Educators will also learn about the structure and the importance of American Indian tribes, clans, bands, and extended families to American Indians.
Educators will understand and respect the importance of cultural values and traditional concepts which help to shape the mindset of American Indian children and their families. Educators will understand the complex challenges faced by American Indian children in today’s classroom as a result of conflicting value systems.
Purpose: Assessing American Indian students’ academic performance and developing culturally-based education approaches in collaboration with local tribes, Indian organizations and Native communities are essential for improved educational opportunities. Educators should:
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.
*NEW* 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.
*NEW* 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.
*NEW* 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
*NEW* 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)
*NEW* 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.
*NEW* 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.
*NEW* Teaching Resources
This Humboldt State University website offers American Indian Teaching Resources.
Purpose: Research indicates that it is important to affirm students’ identity and one reason for the academic achievement gap that American Indian students face is that a one-size-fits-all national curriculum represented in textbooks fails to give positive recognition to American Indian histories and cultures.
It is important for American Indian and Alaska Native students to have the standard state and national curriculums they are exposed to in school be supplemented with curriculum that reflects their background and the community that they live in.
Too often, an English-only policy in American schools has suppressed American Indian languages and cultures. The Native American Languages Act passed by U.S. Congress, and signed by President George H. W. Bush in 1990, enforces United States Policy to support, preserve, and protect American Indian languages. Esther Martinez Native American Languages Preservation Act Act of 2006 The 2007 United Nation’s Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples has given further support to that goal. Today, Indigenous peoples are working through Indigenous language immersion schools to revitalize their languages and cultures.
Purpose: Charter and immersion schools are offering American Indians more flexibility in working to improve the education of their children by affording American Indian communities more power to shape the schooling their children receive.
Learn about charter and immersion schools and how they can provide alternatives to public, Bureau of Indian Education (BIE) schools, and tribally controlled schools, allowing American Indian communities to provide more culturally appropriate education for their children.
The Bureau of Indian Education (BIE) and mainstream public schools have not been successful in bringing up the average test scores and graduation rates of American Indian students to national averages. Learn how Tribally Operated and Indian Charter Schools are providing alternatives that show promise in improving the academic and life success of American Indian students.
Purpose: Research suggests one reason for the achievement gap faced by American Indian students is cultural conflicts between American Indian homes and schools. Accordingly, teachers should be prepared to meet the needs of American Indian and other Indigenous students, including using culturally responsive teaching methodologies that incorporate American Indian learning styles, avoiding biased teaching and stereotypes, and addressing the needs of gifted education and other special needs students.
One-size-fits-all educational reforms, despite being somewhat “evidence based”, have left behind many American Indian students. Learn how adjusting teaching methods and materials to fit American Indian students’ cultural and experiential backgrounds can make them more engaged learners and improve their academic performance.