Native, First Nations, and Indigenous voices can be a part of the curriculum throughout the year. They do not need to be confined to “awareness days” or Native American Heritage Month in November. To go beyond, educators can integrate contemporary stories in their curriculum. While culture and historical events are represented in these modern-set stories, it’s not necessarily the main focus. These contemporary stories often highlight Native characters who are experiencing common situations faced by today’s students, such as getting good grades or pursuing their dreams. Thus, students have an opportunity to connect with these characters on a human level during any time of the year.

The Smithsonian also has a program called Native Knowledge 360. While some lesson plans focus on “awareness days” like Indigenous Peoples’ Day, there are many educational resources that center around food, art, STEM, and environmental studies. Since these lessons aren’t limited to a specific day or historic event, the culture and history of Native communities can be discussed throughout the school year.

WNDB warmly thanks Tehya Foussat (Pechanga Band of Indians) for composing the answers to these FAQs.