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Teaching and Learning

American Indian Studies in Wisconsin

The resources included on this webpage have been selected to illustrate ways in which teachers can integrate and infuse Wisconsin American Indian Studies content into their instruction and practice. The information from each of these resources can be woven into a school district’s curriculum through a balanced, comprehensive, and aligned framework adaptable to local circumstances.

Furthermore, each of these suggested resources are intended to help teachers and students of all ages and in all communities make the connection between the knowledge, skills, and ways of knowing for teaching and learning about each of the eleven federally recognized Wisconsin American Indian nations and tribal communities. These resources provide information that allows for Wisconsin American Indian Studies content to be fully included in a school district’s curriculum.

The following videos provide discussions about and examples of how to successfully integrate or infuse content around American Indian Studies Wisconsin Act 31 in Wisconsin public school districts.

  • A teacher at Black River Falls High School, Paul Rykken is known for his innovative approach in using Culturally Responsive Teaching when integrating American Indian Studies into middle and high school classrooms. Wisconsin First Nations | Exemplar Profile: Paul Rykken
  • A social studies teacher at Prescott High School, Jeff Ryan witnessed the challenges faced by Wisconsin’s Native people, which influenced his passion for infusing American Indian Studies in his classroom. Wisconsin First Nations is a rich collection of classroom, library, and professional learning resources provides PK-12 educators with high-quality materials for the teaching of American Indian Studies in Wisconsin. Wisconsin First Nations | Exemplar Profile: Jeff Ryan
  • A third grade elementary teacher at Bowler Elementary School, Lori Mueller partners with the community and connects with the Wisconsin Native nations to teach her students about American Indians. Wisconsin First Nations | Exemplar Profile: Lori Mueller
  • A former teacher at the Tomah Middle School, Priscilla Cleveland, has a passion for teaching American Indian Studies. She teamed with her school’s social studies committee to develop curriculum to fulfill Wisconsin Act 31 requirements. Wisconsin First Nations | Exemplar Profile: Priscilla Cleveland
  • A Native American Studies and Ojibwe Language instructor in the Bayfield School District, Reggie Cadotte advises teachers to connect historical context about Wisconsin’s First Nations with modern life today. Wisconsin First Nations | Exemplar Profile: Reggie Cadotte

*The inclusion of any material or resources on this page should not be construed as an endorsement or recommendation by the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction. Educators are encouraged to preview all the resources and materials and to use their own judgment about appropriateness depending on grade level and/or class preparedness.

Wisconsin First Nations

The website is meant to support administrators, teachers, librarians, and many others in exploring a rich collection of educational videos, professional development resources and materials, lesson plan for all grades, and learning tools for your classroom and libraries. This website is to help school districts or libraries integrate information on Wisconsin’s American Indian nations and tribal communities into their curriculum.

Furthermore, teacher professional learning resources are also provided, including a Frequently Asked Questions section for answering hard-to-ask questions you may have when teaching about Native cultures, and exemplar videos featuring Wisconsin teachers modeling how to incorporate American Indian Studies into students’ everyday learning.

Wisconsin Historical Society (WHS)

The resources available from the Wisconsin Historical Society (WHS) Press and Education Services include classroom tools, primary resources, an e-newsletter, an education listserv, and various publications. These materials and resources have been selected to illustrate ways in which teachers and others can include, integrate, and/or infuse American Indian Studies content into instruction and practice.

The information from each of these resources can be woven into a school or district’s curriculum through a balanced, comprehensive, and aligned framework adaptable to local circumstances.

Here is a list of other resources and materials available from the WHS:

Additionally, the book Wisconsin Indian Literature: Anthology of Native Voices is available through the Wisconsin Historical Society Store. This book is a unique anthology that presents the oral traditions, literature, and historically significant documents of the current Wisconsin American Indian nations and tribal communities.

In addition, check out the book Everything You Wanted to Know About Indians But Were Afraid to Ask, which includes “matter-of-fact responses to over 120 questions, both thoughtful and outrageous, modern and historical.”

Wisconsin Public Television (WPT)

Wisconsin Public Television (WPT) Tribal Histories features tribal community members, elders, and storytellers sharing the cultures and oral traditions of their nations that have shaped their communities across generations. The series of half-hour programs will present the histories, cultures, and traditions of all eleven federally recognized Wisconsin’s American Indian nations and tribal communities, plus one nation that is seeking to regain its federal recognition status. The following documentaries are released in the Tribal Histories project:

In addition, WPT has numerous other relevant resources, documentaries, an image gallery, various maps, and outreach activities:

Wisconsin Public Television Education | Explore

The Ways is a production of the Wisconsin Public Television Education or WPT Education. This resource is “an ongoing series of stories from Native communities around the central Great Lakes. This online educational resource for 6-12 grade students features videos, interactive maps, and digital media exploring contemporary Native culture and language. The Ways supports educators in meeting the requirements of Wisconsin Act 31, seeking to expand and challenge current understanding of Native identity and communities.”

This series of 4-5 minute videos feature information on each of the eleven federally recognized American Indian nations and tribal communities in Wisconsin. These videos also include present day examples of the daily lives of Wisconsin American Indian people and tribal communities. Here is list of videos from The Ways project:

A second series of resources from the WPT Education are the Wisconsin Biographies, “a collection of media to enrich the social studies and literacy curriculum, using the stories of notable figures in Wisconsin history. For each story, a 3-5 minute animated video engages learners of all ages. The content was designed around 4th grade standards, but is appropriate for use with younger and older students.” Two stories in particular to reference are the following:

Other resources available from the Wisconsin Public Television Education, formerly Wisconsin Media Lab,  that include content and information about Wisconsin American Indian people and communities are the following: ENGAGE! State. Tribal. Local Government, which includes interviews with and videos about Judge Amanda Rockman, Ojibwe Treaty Rights, and Tribal Courts.

The Ningo Gikinonwin: Ojibwe Four Seasons Series depicts the traditional hunting, fishing and gathering activities of each season as practiced by human inhabitants of North America before traders and settlers from Europe arrived. The series shows how these same traditional activities are practiced today by Native American descendants who live in the Great Lakes region.

Additionally, there is Hometown Stories, which is ten programs, for grades 2 through 12 in social studies that traces the evolution of a specific community in Wisconsin through the stories of its residents. 

    We Are Healers

    We Are Healers is a digital media resource featuring stories of American Indian health professionals. We Are Healers “aims to inspire American Indian youth to envision themselves as dentists, nurses, pharmacists, physicians, etc., all through stories of Native role-models. To this end, We Are Healers endorse healthy, active lifestyles and encourage youth to harness the strength of their tribal ‘healing tradition’ as they explore educational opportunities."

    Geat Lakes Indian Fish and Wildlife Commission (GLIFWC)

    The resources available from GLIFWC include an opportunity to subscribe to the GLIFWC newspaper Mazina'igan, as well as booklets, written supplements, posters, books, maps, educational media, videos such as Ojibwe Treaty Rights: Connections to Land & Water, and other educational brochures available for purchase. Each of these materials and resources are available through GLIFWC Education Materials and Treaty Rights sections.

    In addition, GLIFWC has released a video series title Ogichidaa Storytellers:

    Links to Other Instructional or Related Resources:

    An important consideration when looking for good literature and written resources is to determine the historical and cultural accuracy of the materials and resources. The following links are for online guidance documents on how to determine the accuracy of books and other resources as well as to lists of vetted materials regarding American Indian Studies.

    News and Media Sources

    The following links are to media resources, television, and radio that covers news and entertainment for and about American Indian nations and tribal communities across Wisconsin, the United States, and Canada.

    For a more extensive list of additional resources, please go to the DPI American Indian Studies Program Bibliography Series section. Additionally, here information to Supporting Wisconsin Act 31 in your Classroom or Library, which is “meant to support educators and librarians in identifying and collecting materials to support Wisconsin Act 31.”

    For questions about this information, contact David O'Connor (608) 267-2283