Friday, August 24, 2012
By Julie Saylor



The fourth Friday of September was designated by the 1997 Legislature as American Indian Heritage Day, in recognition of Montana’s constitutional commitment to preserve the cultural integrity of American Indians. The definition of a quality education in Montana includes specific language for the integration of Indian Education for All throughout the curriculum. MCA 20-9-309.

The wealth of cross-curricular units, books and DVDs sent to school libraries and available on the Indian Ed website  supports IEFA teaching throughout the year in most content areas; however, in honor of this special day in Montana, here is a list of suggested activities for your school:

·         CREATE an exhibit of samples of your school’s past IEFA classroom work, aligned with the Essential Understandings. Include student work from any content area – (photos of special projects, essays, poetry, primary source documents studied, school trips, special guests, etc.)


·         DISPLAY all of the curriculum materials sent to your school by the OPI; for the language arts materials, include copies of the featured books.


·         PLAY GAMES! Spend some time with the Native American Traditional Games curriculum (in your library) and link to International Traditional Native Games to view students playing the games:

Making game pieces -

  •    SHARE POETRY. Using the newest resource sent to your school – Birthright – Born to Poetry: A Collection of Montana Indian Poetry – conduct a poetry reading by students and staff

  •   PROMOTE AWARENESS OF PAST REALITIES AND PRESENT IMPLICATIONS - INDIAN BOARDING SCHOOLS. Focus on Chapter Five in the Montana Tribal Histories: Educators Resource Guide – “Boarding Schools: The Abduction of Children.” Utilize the slide show, on the Companion DVD, of archival photos of Montana children in both traditional clothing and settings and in boarding school clothing and settings.

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