The Library of Congress and Native American Heritage Month

November is National Native American Heritage Month, set aside to honor the history and traditions of Native Americans. The Teaching with the Library of Congress blog has published a number of posts about teaching about Native American history and culture using primary sources. Many of  them focus on what can and cannot be learned about Native American cultures and traditions from the Library’s online collections. Some raise questions of the intent of the person creating the primary sources, such as this post on Images of Native Americans, which examines ways that Native Americans have been documented, while others explore how primary sources can complicate oversimplified narratives. Other Library of Congress blogs have also created a number of posts that use materials from our collections to document Native American cultures and experiences and can support Native American Heritage Month activities across the curriculum.

Map of the several nations of Indians to the Northwest of South Carolina. Francis Nicholson, 1929

Celebrating Native American Cartography: The Catawba Deerskin Map focuses on one of the few surviving maps from the colonial period created by Native Americans. This map highlights both the location and the relationships between the tribes included on the map. Select questions from  Teacher’s Guide: Analyzing Maps to help your students think more deeply about this and other maps.

In Atuagagdliutit: The First Inuit Newspaper Published in Greenland (Kalâtdlit-Nunât), readers learn about one of the earliest illustrated newspapers in the world, and can view artwork that documents the lives of the Inuit community.

Jim Thorpe, Olympic champion in the pentathlon and the decathlon and a member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame, is featured in As a Matter of Fact: We ARE Ready for Some Football. Learn more about the man many consider the “World’s Greatest Athlete,” and see him on film. Get tips for teaching with film in Analyzing Film in the Classroom.

Friday Night Grand Entry Starts. Carl Fleischhauer, 1983

Interested in Native American Music? Learn about Arthur Farwell and his work to publish American Indian Melodies.

Do your students know who Sequoyah is? The post Sequoyah: A Man of Letters provides information on him and his importance within the Cherokee community. Learn more about Sequoyah and his connection to the Library of Congress in this blog post.

Students can compare the Constitution of the United States with those of several Native American tribes in American Indian Constitutions. Some of the constitutions are written in the language of the tribe, but others are in English.

Native American Cultural Revitalization Today highlights work being done to preserve Native American culture and explores the role of objects in understanding cultures and traditions.

Indigenous American Cylinder Recordings and the American Folklife Center focuses on the work of those who used wax cylinders and other recording devices to insure that future students and members of the Native American communities could hear the language and songs of their communities as presented by members of the tribe.

Interested in more resources? The Native American Heritage Month portal, which is sponsored by a number of federal cultural institutions, provides links to upcoming programs, collections, and other resources that you can use to celebrate the month.

How will you and your colleagues work to provide cross-curricular Native American Heritage month learning experiences for your students? Let us know in the comments.