The Equity and Diversity Department acknowledges that Northshore School District sits on Coast Salish land.
In honor of what is nationally recognized as Native Heritage Month during the month of November, we wanted to share resources to recognize and celebrate Indigenous heritage and discuss Thanksgiving in a culturally sensitive way. We also included a helpful list of culturally responsive strategies and activity ideas to utilize in the classroom for this month and beyond. If you would like additional resources or strategies, please do not hesitate to contact us.
Note: These tips, pointers, and culturally responsive strategies can be utilized this week, this month, and/or this year. They are merely ideas for you to weave into your discussions or already-existing lesson plans.
Resources for Celebrating and Recognizing Native Heritage Month:
- Interactive Native Land Map by Native Land Digital
- Indigenous heritage documentaries and video clips on PBS
- Indigenous heritage art galleries and video clips by Smithsonian Learning Lab
- Native American Voting Rights Coalition webpage and article by Native American Rights Fund
Resources for Talking About Thanksgiving in a Humanizing and Culturally Responsive Way:
- “A Racial Justice Guide to Thanksgiving for Educators and Families” resources by the Center for Racial Justice in Education
- “Decolonizing Thanksgiving: A Toolkit for Combatting Racism in Schools” article by Gaelle Marcel
Culturally Responsive Classroom Strategies and Activity Ideas for Thanksgiving and Native Heritage Month:
- Honor the fact that not all students celebrate Thanksgiving, but recognize the importance of teaching and learning about Indigenous experiences and heritage
- Share about how the “first” Thanksgiving was a devastating time for Indigenous peoples and be sensitive to Native students, families, and peers
- Teach about how lots of Indigenous and non-Indigenous people spend Thanksgiving giving thanks to their families
- Ask students if they engage with the holiday and how they spend their day
- Teach about how lots of Indigenous people will also spend Thanksgiving mourning and honoring their ancestors
- Engage students in mini lessons
- Read books, short stories, or poems to students about Thanksgiving and Indigenous heritage by Native authors
- Show video clips or documentaries to students about Thanksgiving and Indigenous heritage by Native directors/artists/curators
- Have students look through and discuss art galleries and resistance art by Native artists
- Teach students about climate change, environmental justice, and Native environmental justice activists
- Teach about historical and contemporary Indigenous contributions, inventors, politicians, activists, athletes, etc.
- Teach about the #WeAreStillHere hashtag, have students track it on Instagram, Twitter, or Facebook, and have a discussion about what types of posts they found it attached to
- Have students write cards to give thanks to each other and/or to give thanks to each family member
- Write a card to each student telling them why you are thankful for them
Additional Tips and Pointers for Decolonizing Thanksgiving and Humanizing Indigenous Peoples in the Classroom:
- Understand what it means to acknowledge that the Northshore School District sits on Coast Salish territory
- Share about the ongoing project of colonization after the “first” Thanksgiving and beyond
- Do not historicize Indigenous peoples, but rather share stories, experiences, and heritage of Indigenous peoples both historically and contemporarily
- Do not have students dress up as pilgrims or Native folks, but rather honor Indigenous culture and heritage by showing images/videos/texts/artifacts