November is Native American Heritage Month, which makes it a wonderful time of year to teach your homeschooled child about Native Americans. Did you know that the term Native Americans is only used to refer to the Indigenous People of the United States? In Canada, they are called First Nations People. In Mexico and Central America, they use the term pueblos originarios. I have become enthusiastic about learning about the Indigenous People of all of North America because it is an entirely different way to learn the history of not only the US but Canada and Mexico from how I was taught.
If you are interested in celebrating Native American Heritage Month, here are some ideas you can do with your family.
Get out there!
Visit a Museum, Pow-Wow or Reservation to learn about your local tribes. While reservations are private land, many of them host annual Pow-Wows or have museums to educate visitors. Small, local museums may also have displays to educate visitors about native groups this time of year, so it may be worth checking into. Our family was able to see a display about the Patawomacks at a small local museum for free recently.
Cook Native Foods
Serve Native American foods this month and talk about the history of those foods. Corn, pumpkin, squash and many other foods we eat every day are native to North America and first cultivated by the Native Americans. This website has some very doable recipes to get you started.
If you are ready to dive a little further into Native Cuisine, check out The Sioux Chef’s Indigenous Kitchen by Chef Sean Sherman, a member of the Oglala Lakota, and is extensively researched and tested. It includes recipes for a wide variety of foods native to the United States.
Curl Up with a TV Show
For kids, TV shows and movies are a wonderful way to bring alive any lesson. Molly of Denali is a show on PBS Kids about a Native Alaskan and her dog. And if you are looking for something more mature, PBS is still a great resource to check with, as they have a wide variety of shows and miniseries about Native Americans.
Check Out These Books!
Read books! If you are looking for somewhere to start, the book list for our Yellow Level: Indigenous People of North America and Hawai’i is a great resource. And if your student is older I love the books by Joseph Bruchac.
About the Author
Laura Sowdon, OTR/L is an occupational therapist, writer, speaker, educator and creator of the Five Senses Literature Lessons homeschool curriculum. She has worked as an occupational therapist with children in public and private schools, as well as private practice. Laura has taught and managed homeschool co-ops as well as homeschooling her own three children. Laura is dedicated to the idea of educating children at a pace that aligns with brain and physical development milestones and respects neurodiversity in all its forms.