November is National American Indian Heritage Month.
After nearly a century of advocacy, National American Indian Heritage Month was first recognized through joint resolution by Congress in 1990. Now recognized annually, November is a time to learn more about the history and heritage of Native American peoples.
Engage your students in an exploration of Native American heritage through a study of Native American pourquoi tales. Pourquoi tales explain why something or someone, usually in nature, is the way it is. Have your students read a variety of Native American pourquoi tales, explore the cultural origins and signficance of these stories, and share similar stories from their own cultures.
This First People website includes a selection of tales, including many pourquoi tales. After reading these tales and identifying pourquoi story elements, brainstorm with the class a list of animals with distinctive features or a list of natural events such as lightning, rain, or snow, and then have students write original pourquoi tales for how they came to be. When students finish, they can publish their tales using the ReadWriteThink Printing Press. The "booklet" option allows students to add additional pages to accommodate longer stories. After printing the finished product, students can add illustrations to their stories.
This website offers an extensive list of resources related to Native American heritage and culture. Teachers and students can find links to Internet resources, selected Smithsonian online exhibits, and recommended reading.
This radio series, available in audio and text, features elders, historians, storytellers, artists, and leaders from thirteen American Indian Nations along the Lewis and Clark trail. These elders share their history, stories, culture, and music in a series of hour-long radio broadcasts.