November is National Native American Heritage Month and the “Wisconsin First Nations Education” website, launched in November 2017, provides high-quality resources for educators to explore, including a rich collection of educational videos, professional development materials, lesson plans, and learning tools for classrooms and libraries. Teachers and librarians can use the authentic and accurate PK-12 learning resources and materials for teaching and learning during National Native American Heritage Month and throughout the school year.
The website, created by the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction, Wisconsin Public Television Education, and the University of Wisconsin - Madison School of Education, helps districts and libraries integrate Wisconsin’s American Indian nations and tribal communities information into their district curriculum. From lesson plans to teachers sharing how they authentically integrate American Indian Studies in their teaching, this website is an easy-to-use resource for all educators.
According to David O’Connor, DPI American Indian Studies Consultant, “the website provides accurate and authentic resources, materials, digital media and other information for administrators, teachers, librarians and others across the state to provide rich learning experiences and opportunities for teaching and learning about the American Indian nations and tribal communities in Wisconsin”.
Materials within the website not only support educators in fulfilling the requirements of Wisconsin Act 31, but provide methods for teaching and learning about Native nations and communities in Wisconsin that are searchable by treaty lands, grade levels, resource type, and topic. Educators can use the Wisconsin First Nations map within the website to learn which nations are closest to their schools, as educators are encouraged to begin instruction by focusing on their Native neighbors.
While we take the month of November to acknowledge and celebrate the influences of American Indian people, communities, nations, and cultures in Wisconsin, learning about history and culture should not conclude at the end of the month. It is imperative that educators integrate meaningful and authentic teaching and learning opportunities on Native American heritage, cultures, histories, treaties, tribal sovereignty, and contemporary issues into learning experiences year-round.
For more information, visit the DPI American Indian Studies Program website. The website equips educators with information necessary to implement curricular requirements in American Indian history, culture, and tribal sovereignty while providing up-to-date information about tribal nations in the state, American Indian language and culture education licensure, events, and much more.