Dr. David Childs, Ph.D.
Northern Kentucky University
Did you know that there are are 573 federally recognized Indian Nations within the United States? Building off of our last blog we will continue discussing the complexity of Native American culture in the United States. With current debates about citizenship, immigration and deportation it is important to point out that Native Americans are indigenous to the US and were on the continent long before European settlement. Yet they have had a troubling history. Social Studies classrooms can be spaces whereby students learn about Native American rights and their right to be a self-governing entity while they are also citizens of the United States. Individuals that live in Western States and other regions with a large Native American presence have a better idea of this unique relationship. But many Americans are not adequately informed about the culture of many of the people groups that are indigenous to North and South America. There is much to learn about this topic in social studies classrooms. A great place to start is to have students learn about specific tribes that have their home right here in the United States. These tribes have their own language, customs, culture, educational system and government structure. These laws are different from that of the state where they reside as well as the United States government. It is also common knowledge that their rights have been repeatedly violated throughout American history. Below we include some resources that might help those who want to do a deeper study of various Native American tribes. We must keep in mind that Native Americans do not have one culture or one way of life, but they are different in many ways.
This particular site contains a List of Native American Indian Tribes and Languages. It contains an alphabetical list of Native American tribes in North America. When one clicks on the name of the tribe the link offers a pretty in-depth study of the indigenous language of the tribe.
The National Congress of American Indians has a site wherein one can learn all of the details and rights of tribal governance. This can be used in the social studies classroom to help students understand the unique standing natives have as citizens of their Indian nation, the state in which they reside and of the US.
This resource is a Clearinghouse of Tribal Constitutions. In other words, it has an extensive list of the constitutions of the Native tribes in the United States divided by state. Students can click on the name of each tribe and go to the full document of their constitution.
Tribal Government- ICivics
Native American Cultures Across the U.S.
Indian Pride | Treaties and Sovereignty | Lesson Plan
American Indian Curriculum and Lesson Plans- Bloomington Public Schools
Teaching More About Tribal Sovereignty
AIH-12: American Indian Tribal Sovereignty
Native American Cultures
Native American Civil Rights
Native Traditions and Culture
1. To what extent have you learned about Native American culture in your k-12 experience? In college?
2. What information surprised you from this article?
3. What are meaningful ways educators can bring more information about native culture into the curriculum?
4. As a teacher how do you see yourself bringing more information about Native Americans into your curriculum.
Dr. David Childs, Ph.D.