Seattle Public Schools

Native American Heritage

Summary: Native American Heritage is more than a month. Everyday, we celebrate the rich history, traditions, and contributions of Native people.

Native History is American History

November is Native American Heritage Month, a time to celebrate rich and diverse cultures, traditions, and histories and to acknowledge the important contributions of Native people. But Native American Heritage is more than a month. This is a time to educate our school community about tribes, raise awareness about their many contributions, and highlight how tribal citizens and Nations work to improve the lives of all people, both tribal and nontribal.

More Than a Month

Our district recognizes Native Nations have been stewards of these lands since time immemorial.

Shana Brown is the Native American curriculum specialist for district’s Native American Education Program, led by Manager Gail Morris. They have developed meaningful and essential Native American resources for educators and families to use specifically for this commemorative time and throughout the year.

Watch this video, recognizing the amazing work of SPS’s Native American Education Department.

Families play a part in educating their children about Native American history and current issues and contributions. Please visit our online American Indian Resource Library to check out literature and nonfiction available students and teachers.

The featured image of this news post is Tamanimas, a Northwest Coast design by Andrea Wilbur Sigo. The artwork is visible in the theme artwork across Seattle Public Schools websites. Read more about the artwork on our websites.

Meet local tribal changemakers and heroes

Native American Heritage Month Resources

SPS American Indian Resource Library Webinars

Discover high interest, relevant books about and by Native Americans. Listen to librarian Rachel Kresl’s recommend select titles from our American Indian Resource Library. Class sets of several titles are available for loan.

American Indian Resource Library Webinars

Discover high interest, relevant books about and by Native Americans. Listen to librarian Rachel Kresl’s recommend select titles from our American Indian Resource Library. Class sets of several titles are available for loan.

Read Alouds

Fry Bread: A Native American Family Story read by author Kevin Noble Maillard (Seminole) Fry Bread read by author Kevin Noble Maillard (9:24 minutes, reading begins at 1:05)

Lovebirds by Sondra Segundo (Haida) Lovebirds read and sung by local author, artist and singer Sondra Segundo (10:16-minutes, author joins at 1:35)

Choose from the  collection of read aloud videos  from authors and publishers of Native American children’s books compiled by SPS’s American Indian Resource Library.

Rethinking Thanksgiving Celebrations

Rethinking Thanksgiving Celebrations: Native American Perspectives on Thanksgiving 

Native Knowledge 360°, the educational program from the Smithsonian’s National Museum of the American Indian (NMAI), provides suggestions for culturally sensitive activities and resources for all grades, including: 

  • Read and discuss theHaudenosaunee Thanksgiving Address with your students.Use the NMAI’s resourceHarvest Ceremony: Beyond the Thanksgiving Myth to learn about the true history behind the historic event.For grades 3–5: links to resources, including a lesson plan on Thanksgiving and Thanksgiving quiz cards.For grades 4–8, see the NMAI teaching posterAmerican Indian Perspectives on Thanksgiving.See the website for Plimoth Patuxet for activities about what really happened at the famous 1621 celebration.

Videos

PBS Molly of Denali Website

PBS Circle of Stories

Grandmother Song – Nîpisîy

Enjoy this video ofGrandmother Song – Nîpisîy by Leo McGilvery in the spirit of happiness, health and healing! (3:30-minute video) Performed by Sherryl Sewepagaham, Debbie Houle, Donita Large and Cindy Paul. 

Cree lyrics:

Âsaweyminan nimâmâ
Bless us my mother.

Kanaweyminan nimâmâ
Be with us my mother.

20 Native American Women to Know

To celebrate Native American Heritage Month, the YWCA of Minneapolis is “uplifting the wisdom and work of Native American women, stewards and leaders from our earliest history to now.  Read about 20 Native women whose leadership, innovation and creativity have made and continue to make vast contributions to our history.”

Northwest Native American Lives

Excerpt from Native American Lives article from  HistoryLink.org, November 12, 2020

″November is Native American Heritage Month, and this week HistoryLink looks at back at some notable Northwest Indians from throughout Washington’s history.

We begin with a few tribal leaders from the 1800s— Chief Joseph, a leader of the Wallowa band of the Nez Perce Tribe (seen above with his family); Chief Kamiakin of the Yakama Tribe; Chief Moses of the Columbia band of Indians; Chief Seattle— si?al in his native Lushootseed language—of the Duwamish and Suquamish tribes; Chief Spokane Garry of the Spokane Tribe; and Chief Leschi and Chief Quiemuth of the Nisqually Tribe.”

Browse  HistoryLink.org Washington State tribal history resources to learn more about notable Northwest Native Americans.

Teacher Resource

Five Critical Orientations to Support Indigenous Studies Curriculum Handout (PDF)

Looking for More Resources?

For more curriculum and continuous learning ideas, visit Seattle Public Schools’ Native American Education Program webpages: (Washington State Tribal History Curriculum & Continuous Learning Resources) American Indian Resource Library Native American Education Program  

American Indian Resource Library Webinars

Discover high interest, relevant books about and by Native Americans. Listen to librarian Rachel Kresl’s recommend select titles from our American Indian Resource Library. Class sets of several titles are available for loan.

Videos

I Am Native (7:38 minutes) is a short film showcasing Seattle Public Schools’ Native high school students and staff sharing their stories, hopes, and dreams for their future.  

Interconnected: The Effect of Climate Change on Indigenous Nations (13:39 minutes) is a film produced by Nathan Hale High School graduate (2020) Rosie Port and her brother Gabe. Rosie created and beautifully produced this powerful film for her Hale Senior Action Project. It is an important piece of student work about issues facing Indigenous culture and what individuals can do to reduce their environmental impact.

Grandmother Song – Nîpisîy Enjoy this video ofGrandmother Song – Nîpisîy by Leo McGilvery in the spirit of happiness, health and healing! (3:30-minute video) Performed by Sherryl Sewepagaham, Debbie Houle, Donita Large and Cindy Paul. 

Cree lyrics:

Âsaweyminan nimâmâ
Bless us my mother.

Kanaweyminan nimâmâ
Be with us my mother.

PBS Circle of Stories

Rethinking Thanksgiving Celebrations

Rethinking Thanksgiving Celebrations: Native American Perspectives on Thanksgiving 

Native Knowledge 360°, the educational program from the Smithsonian’s National Museum of the American Indian (NMAI), provides suggestions for culturally sensitive activities and resources for all grades, including: 

  • Read and discuss theHaudenosaunee Thanksgiving Address with your students.Use the NMAI’s resourceHarvest Ceremony: Beyond the Thanksgiving Myth to learn about the true history behind the historic event.See the NMAI teaching posterAmerican Indian Perspectives on Thanksgiving.See the website for Plimoth Patuxet for activities about what really happened at the famous 1621 celebration.

20 Native American Women to Know

To celebrate Native American Heritage Month, the YWCA of Minneapolis is “uplifting the wisdom and work of Native American women, stewards and leaders from our earliest history to now.  Read about 20 Native women whose leadership, innovation and creativity have made and continue to make vast contributions to our history.”

Northwest Native American Lives

Excerpt from Native American Lives article from  HistoryLink.org, November 12, 2020 ″November is Native American Heritage Month, and this week HistoryLink looks at back at some notable Northwest Indians from throughout Washington’s history.

We begin with a few tribal leaders from the 1800s— Chief Joseph, a leader of the Wallowa band of the Nez Perce Tribe (seen above with his family); Chief Kamiakin of the Yakama Tribe; Chief Moses of the Columbia band of Indians; Chief Seattle— si?al in his native Lushootseed language—of the Duwamish and Suquamish tribes; Chief Spokane Garry of the Spokane Tribe; and Chief Leschi and Chief Quiemuth of the Nisqually Tribe.”

Browse  HistoryLink.org Washington State tribal history resources to learn more about notable Northwest Native Americans.

Articles 

Lesson Suggestions :

  • Create breakout rooms and assign articles to smaller groups to then share with the class.
    • Central question: Name the tribe(s) featured in this article and explain the central message of the article.How are their actions helping all of us?
    Lead an  “A-Ha!” Group read, and popcorn student responses that begin with “I never knew that…”

Northwest Treaty Tribes Magazine: Protecting Natural Resources for Everyone 

Northwest Treaty Tribes Magazine is a publication of the Northwest Indian Fisheries Commission. Access the magazine’s  Fall 2020 Issue (PDF) from the Northwest Treaty Tribes website, which has many more articles in past issues. Suggested reading for the Fall 2020 issue:

  • p. 2:COVID Impacts Tribal Traditions,Natural Resources Managementp. 3:Salmon Now Free to Swim Upstream (Treaty Rights)p. 4:Lummi Fishes Whatcom Creek for First Time in a Century (Treaty Rights)p. 7:Juvenile Sea Cucumbers at Home in FLUPSY (Marine Science)p. 8:Aggressive Milfoil Spoils Elwha Estuary (Environmental Science)p. 8 :Motion-Sensor Cameras Spot Wildlife (Wildlife Management Science)p. 13:Golf Club Hill Culvert Removed (Habitat Restoration)p. 14:Fishing Area Protected with Restoration WorkandTool Predicts Changes to Shorelines, Water Temperatures (Climate Change)p. 15:Salmon Habitat Restoration Completed in Nooksack River (Fisheries Management)

Lesson Ideas

Frank Waln, Lakota Hip Hop Artist, on History, Stereotypes & Indigenous Peoples’ Day

Video Interview:Frank Waln Talks Native History, New Single and Seventh Generation Prophecy.  Frank Waln, a Lakota activist and Hip Hop artist from the Sicangu Sioux Rosebud Reservation in South Dakota. In the interview, Waln talks about omitted and inaccurate Native history, tradition, Indigenous Peoples’ Day, the 7th Generation and how all of us are connected.This is a great lesson for middle and high school!

Suggestions:

  • Watch the interview, then listen toWhat Made the Red Man Red, followed by7.Study the lyrics of7.Have an open conversation about the topics and issues Waln raises.Write a response to what you learn and feel.Extended response/discussion post: “Why do you think Frank Waln cries at the end of his song7? Please provide at least two reasons and evidence from the video to support your response.”Also listen toWhat Made the Red Man Red? and study the lyrics.

Teacher Resource

Five Critical Orientations to Support Indigenous Studies Curriculum Handout (PDF)

Looking for More Resources?

For more curriculum and continuous learning ideas, visit Seattle Public Schools’ Native American Education Program webpages: (Washington State Tribal History Curriculum & Continuous Learning Resources) American Indian Resource Library Native American Education Program  

American Indian Resource Library Webinars

Discover high interest, relevant books about and by Native Americans. Listen to librarian Rachel Kresl’s recommend select titles from our American Indian Resource Library. Class sets of several titles are available for loan.

American Indian Resource Library

Seattle Public Library’s Native American Book Lists

American Indians in Children’s Literature Blog  from Debbie Reese (Nambé Pueblo author and librarian)

Book Lists & Resources from Cynthia Leitich Smith (Muscogee Creek Nation author) 

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