American Indian Education Program

Monthly Newsletter - November 2020

Boozhoo District 196 Teachers!

This month's Indian Education Newsletter will focus on 3 important topics: Native American Heritage Month, Thanksgiving & Indigenous Foods

If you have any questions, please feel free to contact your Indian Education Cultural Family Advocate.

Native American Heritage Month

In 1990, President George HW Bush was the first United States President to officially declare the month of November to be Native American Heritage Month. It is important to note that this is a federal proclamation and that the state of Minnesota also recognizes American Indian Month in May each year.

The intention for NAHM is to showcase & celebrate the contributions of indigenous people within American society and history. We have put together a few resources to highlight some of those contributions that we hope will further our students' knowledge and exposure to indigenous lives and perspectives.

Online Resources for Educators

Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Community: Native American Heritage Month Educator Series

Native American Heritage Month (Federal website) - this site has various webinar opportunities for educators.

PBS: Native American Heritage Month Content

Indian Affairs Virtual 2020 Celebration

Map of Tribal Nations in the US & in Alaska

National Indian Education Association: Virtual Resources for Educators

Thanksgiving Resources for Educators

From American Indian Perspectives on Thanksgiving:

“Each November educators across the country teach their students about the First Thanksgiving, a quintessentially American holiday. They try to give students an accurate picture of what happened in Plymouth in 1621 and explain how that event fits into American history. Unfortunately, many teaching materials give an incomplete, if not inaccurate, portrayal of the first Thanksgiving, particularly of the event’s Native American participants....It is our hope that this information will encourage you to teach about Thanksgiving in a new way—one that recognizes the country’s original people and gives real meaning to November as Native American Heritage Month."

Online Resources for Teachers:

A Racial Justice Guide to Thanksgiving: for Educators & Families

Decolonizing Thanksgiving: A Toolkit for Combating Racism in Schools

Teaching Tolerance: Teaching Thanksgivings in a Socially Responsible Way

Listening to the Wampanoag Voices: Beyond 1620

Indigenous Peoples Thanksgiving Alcatraz Sunrise Ceremony

Books about Thanksgiving & Gratitude written by Native American Authors:

Books available to be checked out from our Indian Education Lending Library Collection

1. Giving Thanks by Chief Jake Swamp

2. Squanto's Journey by Jospeh Bruchac

3. ThankU: Poems of Gratitude by various authors

4. Four Seasons of Corn: A Winnebago Tradition by Sally M. Hunter

5. 1621: A New Look at Thanksgiving

National Indian Education Association: Recommended K-12 Reading List


It is common to associate learning about Indigenous cultures, histories and contributions with the month of November. This is true mainly because of the Thanksgiving holiday and the practice of sharing a meal together on that day. Because of this, we felt the need to highlight resources that focus on the Indigenous foods of the Ojibwe and Dakota.


Traditional Ojibwe Food: Wild Rice & the Sugar Bush

Native Harvest: White Earth Land Recovery Project

Manoomin: The Food that Grows on Water

Spearfishing: A Living History

Hunting Deer: Sharing the Harvest

Lake Superior White Fish: Carrying on a Family Tradition

Great Lakes Indian Fish & Wildlife Commission


Sioux Chef: Teaching Indigenous Foods - MPR Interview

Three Sisters Garden - Free Coloring Sheets designed by Dakota artist: Marlena Myles

SMSC: Significance of Bison Quiz

SMSC: Dakota Hunting

Seeds of Native Health and Wozupi Tribal Gardens

PIIC: Buffalo Project

Inside the Lakota's Fight for Food Sovereignty

More Resources:

Dream of Wild Health: Recovering knowledge and access to Indigenous healthy foods

Indigenous Food and Agriculture Initiative

Virtual Art Exhibit: Native American Medicine Garden ( U of MN)

Traditional Foods in Native America (CDC)

Finding our Roots: Indigenous Food Sovereignty

Did You Know? ...

  • There are currently 574 self-governing/SOVEREIGN indigenous nations within the United States
  • In 2019, there were 6.9 Million indigenous people living in the US
  • District 196 currently has more than 460 American Indian students who represent over 45 difference indigenous nations
  • There are 4 Dakota reservations and 7 Ojibwe reservations in Mni Sota
  • Mni Sota translates to: Land Where Water Reflect the Clouds in the Dakota Language
  • The Dakota people are indigenous to Mni Sota and the Ojibwe migrated from the east coast to the land where food grows on water
  • Lacrosse is a sport invented by the Ojibwe and it is called: The Creator's Game
  • The Lieutenant Governor of Minnesota - Peggy Flanagan - is an enrolled citizen of the White Earth Nation
  • Deb Haaland (Laguna Pueblo) and Sharice Davids (HoChunk Nation) are the 1st Native American women to serve in the United States Congress (and both just won their reelection on November 3, 2020)
  • The 1972 Indian Education Act was the landmark legislation establishing a comprehensive approach to meeting the unique needs of American Indian and Alaska Native students