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National Native American Heritage Month pays tribute to the rich ancestry, history, and traditions of the Indigenous peoples of North America, and throughout the month, schools, community organizations and cultural institutions around the country are providing lessons, events, and activities that highlight Indigenous experiences and perspectives.

In commemoration of National Native American Heritage Month, we put together the following lists of books, events, and resources for families of students in grades 3-K through 12. We hope you enjoy and learn from these outstanding books and resources—let us know in the comments section below if you have any recommendations you’d like to share!

Three men standing on a sidewalk in traditional Native American garb and holding musical instruments

Photo by Sami Aksu. Used under Creative Commons license. Original can be found on Pexels.

 

Events for Students and Families

Friday, November 19
National Museum of American History (Virtual)
11–11:30 a.m.

Join experts from the National Museum of American History for a free online exploration of Native American history featuring museum resources from the Smithsonian.

You can watch last year’s stream on YouTube

Tuesday, November 23
New York Public Library—Epiphany Library (Virtual)
3 – 4 p.m.

In celebration of Native American Heritage Month, staff members from the Epiphany Library will be highlighting thrillers and mysteries by Indigenous authors. Join them online via Google Meet for book recommendations and discussion.

You must register online on NYPL’s website with your email address to receive the link you will need to participate. The link will be sent to you via email approximately one day before this program begins.

Monday, November 29
New York Public Library—Countee Cullen Library (Virtual)
4 – 5 p.m.

For children ages 2–12 years old.

Join Countee Cullen Library for a reading of Kevin Noble Mailard’s Fry Bread: A Native American Family Story, and celebrate the importance of family while learning about the history of a special recipe.

This program will take place on Zoom, and online registration is required on NYPL’s webpage. A link will be sent to you via email approximately one day before this program begins.

Tuesday, November 30
Brooklyn Public Library (Virtual)
3 – 4 p.m.

Connect with fellow poetry lovers and discuss Natalie Diaz’s Pulitzer Prize-winning book, Postcolonial Love Poem, on Zoom! Online registration is required.

Image of an American flag with a Native American man in headdress drawn on top of it

Earlier this year, we dedicated an installment of our year-long Hidden Voices series to celebrating Indigenous heroes. Check out our prior coverage for more Native American stories! (Photo by ~Sage~. Used under Creative Commons license. Original can be found on Flickr.)

 

Resources for Students

This page contains outstanding resources that can be used by K–12 teachers, families, and students inside or outside the classroom. Resources include lesson plans, digital exhibitions, and timelines.

The United States Government (Online)

The National Archives holds hundreds of thousands of U.S. Government records relating to Native Americans, from as early as 1774 through the mid-1990s. These include every treaty ever signed with Native Americans, records from the Indian Schools, Indian Census Rolls, and Bureau of Indian Affairs records.

Museum of Indian Arts and Culture (Online)

This website provides public access to digital copies of all the ratified United States treaties signed with Native Americans alongside key historic works that provide context to the agreements made. You will also be able to look at which historical and present day tribes are named in these treaties, and you can even enter your zip code to explore the land transfer agreements that relate to where you currently live.

History Hub (Online)

On this website, you can learn about finding and managing Indigenous records. Have questions about specific Native American tribes and events? Here, you can ask a question, help answer open questions, read research tips, and search other queries that people have asked in the past.

Through PBS, we have access to this special collection of films, short stories, and resources that commemorate the history, culture, and traditions of Native Americans and Alaskan Natives. From stories about Native Americans in urban areas and sports leagues, to documentaries about Native American Boarding Schools, this site has a great collection of content for students, teachers, and families alike. You can even check out #NativeInspired recipes from PBS Food!

Explore how Native American peoples and cultures have been represented in both non-Native-produced and Native-created public broadcasting programs. Each section features a range of radio and television programs that cover key events or issues important to Native peoples. Additionally, this online exhibit explores how mainstream American public media and media produced by Native Americans depict and document Indigenous peoples in ways that either confirm or reject stereotypes.

National Museum of the American Indian (Virtual)
On-Demand via YouTube

Today, many young Native Americans are working to restore the traditional food sources and sustainable ways of living that were disrupted by European settlement and U.S. policy over the past few centuries. Watch this conversation between Samuel Lopez (Tohono O’odham) Mariah Gladstone (Blackfeet, Cherokee), and Alecia Lennie (Invuvialuit) to learn how these young foodies are working to decolonize their diets and restore balance in their bodies and communities.

Map of NY State Regarding Cession 29

This is a map of New York State, circa 1797. Here, one can see references to a number of land cessions (in green) to Native American tribes. (Photo by the Library of Congress. Used under Creative Commons license. Original can be found at the Library of Congress)

 

Booklists for Young Readers

Early Elementary School (Grades 3-K through 2)

  • All Around Us by Xelena Gonzalez; art by Adriana M. Garcia
  • Awâsis and the World-Famous Bannock (Debwe) by Dallas Hunt; art by Amanda Strong
  • Bowwow Powwow by Brenda J. Child, translated by Gordon Jourdain; art by Jonathan Thunder
  • A Day with Yayah by Nicola I. Campbell; art by Julie Flett
  • The First Strawberries by Joseph Bruchac; art by Anna Vojtech
  • The Forever Sky by Thomas Peacock; art by Annette S. Lee
  • Fry Bread: A Native American Family Story by Kevin Noble Maillard; art by Juana Martinez-Neal
  • Swift Fox All Along by Rebecca Lea Thomas; art by Maya McKibben
  • We Are Grateful: Otsaliheliga by Traci Sorrell; art by Frane Lessac
  • We Are Water Protectors by Carole Lindstrom; art by Michaela Goade

Cover of "Fry Bread" which features an illustration of a woman holding a bowl filled with bread and a baby who is eating a piece of bread.

Elementary School (Grades 3–5)

  • Buffalo Bird Girl: A Hidatsa Story by S.D. Nelson
  • Chester Nez and the Unbreakable Code: A Navajo Code Talker’s Story by Joseph Bruchac; art by Liz Amini-Holmes
  • The First Blade of Sweetgrass by Suzanne Greenlaw and Gabriel Frey; art by Nancy Baker
  • Greet the Dawn: The Lakota Way by S.D. Nelson
  • Ho’onani: Hula Warrior by Heather Gale; art by Mika Song
  • Molly of Denali: An Alaskan Adventures Reading Collection by WGBH Kids
  • Rock and Roll Highway: The Robbie Robertson Story by Sebastian Robertson; art by Adam Gustavson
  • Saltypie: A Choctaw Journey from Darkness into Light by Tim Tingle; art by Karen Clarkson
  • She Persisted: Maria Tallchief by Christine Day and Chelsea Clinton; art by Alexandra Boiger and Gillian Flint
  • The Star People: A Lakota Story by S.D. Nelson

Cover for the children's book, "Ho'onani Hula Warrior"

Middle School (Grades 6–8)

  • The Case of Windy Lake: A Mighty Muskrats Mystery by Michael Hutchinson
  • Fatty Legs by Christy Jordan-Fenton
  • Gaawin Gindaaswin Ndaawsii/I Am Not a Number by Dr. Jenny Kay Dupuis and Kathy Kacer; art by Gillian Newland; translated by Muriel Sawyer and Geraldine McLeod
  • The Grizzly Mother by Hetxw’ms Gyetxw (Brett D. Huson); art by Natasha Donovan
  • I Can Make This Promise by Christine Day
  • Indian No More by Charlene Willing McManis and Traci Sorrell
  • In the Footsteps of Crazy Horse by Joseph Marshall
  • Kunu’s Basket: A Story from Indian Island by Lee DeCora Francis; art by Susan Drucker
  • Rez Dogs by Joseph Bruchac
  • Spotted Tail by David Heska Wanbli Weiden; art by Jim Yellowhawk and Pat Kinsella

Cover of the book, "In the Footsteps of Crazy Horse," featuring a rendering of a painting of a soaring eagle and a red horse

High School (Grades 9–12)

  • The Marrow Thieves by Cherie Dimaline
  • Give Me Some Truth by Eric Gansworth
  • #NotYouPrincess: Voices of Native American Women by Lisa Charleyboy and Mary Beth Leatherdale.
  • This Place: 150 Years Retold by Kateri Akiwenzie-Damm, Sonny Assu, et. al.
  • Urban Tribes: Native Americans in the City by Lisa Charleyboy; edited by Mary Beth Leatherdale.
  • Apple in the Middle by Dawn Quigley
  • Hearts Unbroken by Cynthia Leitich Smith
  • Surviving the City (Volume 1) by Tasha Spillett; art by Natasha Donavan
  • A Girl Called Echo by Katherena Vermette; art by Scott B. Henderson
  • Elatsoe by Darcie Little Badger; art by Rovina Cai

Cover for the book, "Surviving the City," featuring drawn images of four native women at different ages.

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We hope you and your family enjoy these titles, resources, and events as you commemorate Native American history throughout November and beyond! Know any other family-friendly resources and events that could be used to celebrate Native American heritage? Let us know in the comments below!

On behalf of the DOE, we wish everyone a wonderful National Native American Heritage month!


 

Banner photo by Alyssa Macy. Used under Creative Commons license. Original can be found on Flickr.

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NYC Department of Education, 2019