Educators should be mindful of cultural appropriation. PBS Education defines cultural appropriation as “the adoption or use of elements of one culture by members of another culture. It may be perceived as controversial or even harmful, notably, when the cultural property of a minority group is used by members of the dominant culture without consent.” For example, it is never appropriate to have activities where students dress up or engage in reenactments of battles. The National Indian Education Association (NIEA) provides educators with alternative activities that are respectful, such as learning the significance of woven baskets from the Apache people or rug designs in Navajo culture.
To avoid perpetuating any biases during the teaching of materials, educators should consult trusted sources on how to implement Native, First Nations, and Indigenous perspectives. IllumiNative has created a guide on the types of discussions and activities that are generally recognized as respectful toward Native communities. Furthermore, educators can use resources to help avoid generalizations and stereotypes. The Smithsonian’s Native Knowledge 360 discusses common misconceptions, such as the belief that all Indians live in tipis or do rain dances, and the National Education Association has a guide on land acknowledgement and how to explain the ongoing effects of colonization to students.