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Resources on Native American History

Photo, Woman from Plains with baby, c. 1901, Library of Congress
Question 

I teach Native American history/studies. . . It is difficult finding curriculum and good lessons for these subjects. I would really like to find a good text book but have not been able to. . . [A]ny ideas or suggestions would be helpful. . .

Answer 

There are several textbook-y resources available that we like. Consider the readers in the Bedford Series in History and Culture. Three of these paperback readers address Native American history, including The Cherokee Removal and The World Turned Upside Down: Indian Voices from Early America. Each of the readers begins with an introductory essay that provides an overview narrative of the topic and its historiographical context. Following this essay are selected primary and secondary sources accompanied by orienting background information. Depending on the ages and abilities of your students, these readers can serve as a resource for creating source-based activities and lectures, or for older and more capable students, they can be a kind of textbook. However, be forewarned, if you are working with younger students, you will likely need to further excerpt and prepare many of the provided sources.

For a lengthier survey textbook that is popular and worth investigating, try First Peoples by Colin G. Calloway. Also consider the documentary series, We Shall Remain, a recent entry in the excellent PBS series, The American Experience. You can find teaching activities and full episodes on the series’ companion website. Also see this blog for links related to this series. All of these resources can help you craft lessons that emphasize both the diversity of Native Americans and the fact that they are still with us today—two ideas that challenge many students’ misconceptions about this topic.

Why not go straight to the

Why not go straight to the source and ask a real-live Native American instead of relying on interpretations of historians? By contacting tribal offices and requesting names and contacts of people whose job it is to share the tribes' rich histories with others a teacher can insure a more balanced view of past events.

Good idea--thanks for

Good idea--thanks for contributing!

The National Museum of the

The National Museum of the American Indian has many good resources for educators. Their website is: http://www.nmai.si.edu.

There is a terrific new book

There is a terrific new book out that I would recommend. It is American Indians American Presidents edited by Clifford E. Trafzer in association with th National Museum of the American Indian, Smithsonian Institution--very readable and useable. It discusses the relationship between American Indians and American presidents in five parts from the Native Nations and the New Nation through the Era of Self-Determination today.

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