Monday, November 1, 2010

November is American Indian Heritage Month

American Indian Heritage Month began with an effort to gain a day of recognition for the significant contributions the "First Americans" made to the establishment and growth of the United States. This effort, which began in the early part of the 20th century, resulted in the month of November being designated for that purpose.

Recommended Web Sites
The Library of Congress (LOC) provides a number of wonderful online resources and source material on specific native populations. For Native American Heritage Month, the LOC pays tribute to the rich ancestry and traditions of Native Americans. The Web site includes images, audio/video and links to specific collections and exhibitions related to or encompassing Native American history, as well as lesson plans and activities for teachers and students. And just in time for Veteran's Day, their Stories From Veterans History Project has a special feature entitled, Willing to Serve: American Indians.

For teachers, ReadWriteThink celebrates National American Indian Heritage Month with links to lesson plans, recommended Web sites and texts to inspire classroom learning. Scholastic provides a Native American Heritage Activity Set that explores contributions Native Americans made/make to our nation. Also be sure to check out Smithsonian Education's American Indian Heritage Teaching Resources page.

Parents and teachers may want to try their hand at some Native American Crafts for Kids from EnchantedLearning.com.

The National Park Service has put together a list of featured American Indian properties as well as lessons/exhibits of American Indian Heritage in our nation's parks.

If you can't make it to Washington, DC to visit the National Museum of the American Indian, check out some of their fascinating online exhibitions.

PBS's American Experience series "We Shall Remain,", which describes itself as "a provocative multi-media project that establishes Native history as an essential part of American history," includes a Web site with all five (5) episodes available for viewing online. Other PBS sites with information on Native Americans include Colonial House, Antiques Roadshow and Lewis and Clark.

Suggested Databases
The library subscribes to several online databases that can help you with research on Native Americans:
  • Biography in Context alows you to browse for biographical information on the category Native Americans;

  • Both Britannica Online and World Book Online (kids' and regular/student versions) include in-depth research articles on Native Americans;

  • In Bloom's Literary Reference Online, you can search on the terms "native american" and get a host of resources, including Bloom on Native-American Writers, bacckground on Native American literature and short fiction, and more;

  • Ancestry Library (in-library use only) has a number of databases available that cover specific Native American tribes as well as U.S. Indian Census Schedules;

And of course, you can always check the library's online catalog for books and materials to check out/take home. Our children's librarian, Jennifer Schultz, has recommended several books for children and teens that are centered around Native American characters.

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