Indigenous Peoples' Day: Resources for Educators
Learn more about Indigenous Peoples' Day, why many communities and states throughout the U.S. have embraced this observance, and how to help deepen understanding about Indigenous peoples throughout the Americas.
What is Indigenous Peoples' Day?
Since the 1990s, a growing number of states have begun to replace Columbus Day with Indigenous Peoples Day — a holiday meant to honor the culture and history of the people living in the Americas both before and after Columbus' arrival. In this Q&A from The Conversation, Susan C. Faircloth, an enrolled member of the Coharie Tribe of North Carolina and professor of education at Colorado State University, explains the history of Indigenous Peoples Day and what it means to American education.
These books offer young people the opportunity to deepen their own understanding of the history of Native peoples throughout North America. From picture books to atlases, these titles challenge the depictions of Native history that so many students have encountered in schools and popular culture, reframing that history while also highlighting important events, accomplishments, and cultural traditions.
Recommended books for children and young adults
- Booklists for Kids: American Indian/Alaska Native/Native Hawaiian Heritage
- Booklists for Young Adults: American Indian/Alaska Native/Native Hawaiian Heritage
- Tips for Choosing Culturally Appropriate Books & Resources About Native Americans
By Katrina Phillips
This award-winning book introduces children to Indigenous Peoples' Day. The second Monday in October is a day to honor Native communities, their histories, and cultures. Readers will discover how a shared holiday can have multiple traditions and be celebrated in all sorts of ways.
Winner of the American Indian Youth Literature Award.
Cynthia Leitich Smith: Why powwow is central to the "Ancester Approved" anthology
In this excerpt from her upcoming Colorín Colorado interview, award-winning author Cynthia Leitich Smith (Muscogee) explains why she chose to center the short story anthology she edited, "Ancestor Approved: Intertribal Stories for Kids" (Heartdrum, 2021), at the Dance for Earth powwow in Ann Arbor, MI.
Juana Martinez-Neal: Illustrating Fry Bread
Juana Martinez-Neal describes the respect her family instilled in her for the Indigenous communities of her native Peru and the influence that perspective had on her illustrations for the award-winning book "Fry Bread: A Native American Family Story" by Kevin Noble Maillard.
Joseph Bruchac: Writing Code Talkers
Joseph Bruchac (Abenaki) talks about the opportunity to write a novel about Diné (Navajo) code talkers and his research process for the book.
For additional resources, see the following:
- American Indian, Alaska Native, and Native Hawaiian Heritage: Resources for Educators
- Partnering with Indigenous Students from Latin America: Resources for Schools
- Learning First Peoples: Classroom Resources (First Nations Education Steering Committee, Canada)