2020 Indigenous Peoples’ Day Curriculum and Virtual Teach-In: Food and Water Justice

Saturday, September 12, 2020
12 p.m. – 2:30 p.m.  

Join the Smithsonian’s National Museum of the American Indian (NMAI) and Teaching for Change for a day of online conversation, a keynote speaker, and curriculum workshops.The focus of the teach-in is Indigenous peoples’ histories and experiences around food and water justice today. The keynote speaker and interactive workshops will feature classroom resources from the NMAI’s Native Knowledge 360°, and the Zinn Education Project’s Teach Climate Justice campaign. The teach-in will be held virtually via zoom. CEU’s will be available by request. Learn more and register below.

Keynote Speaker

Winona LaDuke. LaDuke (member of the Mississippi Band Anishinaabeg of the White Earth reservation) is an internationally renowned activist working on issues of sustainable development renewable energy and food systems. She lives and works on the White Earth reservation in northern Minnesota, and is a two time vice presidential candidate with Ralph Nader for the Green Party. As Program Director of the Honor the Earth, she works nationally and internationally on the issues of climate change, renewable energy, and environmental justice with Indigenous communities.

(read descriptions below)

  • Meet Today’s Climate Justice Activists: A mixer on the people saving the world 
  • Necessity film and lesson
  • Treaties Matter
  • The Inka Empire: What Innovations Can Provide Food and Water for Millions?
  • American Indian Responses to Environmental Challenges 


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Workshop Descriptions

Meet Today’s Climate Justice Activists: A mixer on the people saving the world. This workshop will engage middle and high school teachers in a mixer lesson that can be used to introduce students to the stories of climate justice activists who are organizing toward climate action. The roles that bring together various strands of the climate justice movement, and highlight the broad coalition of groups are working toward the goal of a just transition — including teach-in keynote speaker Winona LaDuke. This lesson, available for free access at the Zinn Education Project website, creates an opportunity for our students begin to see themselves as part of this movement — as activists — capable of creating the change that so often feels out of reach. Facilitated by a representative from the Zinn Education Project.

Necessity film and lesson: Grounded in people and places at the heart of the climate crisis, the documentary Necessity traces the fight in Minnesota against the expansion of pipelines carrying toxic tar sands oil through North America. The film is structured around two stories of indigenous and non-indigenous activists engaged in civil disobedience and using the necessity defense, making a moral case for acts of civil disobedience. Participants will see a clip from the film and use a lesson about the film that is designed for grades 7+.

The Inka Empire: What Innovations Can Provide Food and Water for Millions? The Inka Empire thrived in South America in the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries. Join astronomer and educator Dr. Isabel Hawkins (bilingual/bicultural, from Argentina) of the Exploratorium museum in San Francisco to delve into The Inka Empire: What Innovations Can Provide Food and Water for Millions? This new Native Knowledge 360° online lesson highlights Inka-period engineering accomplishments that allowed the Inka to manage their vast and disperse empire. Discover how their legacy has relevancy in the present day. Explore a variety of sources that reveal how the need to feed and provide water for millions of people across an expansive territory led to Inka innovations in water management and agriculture. Many of these innovations are still in use today by Indigenous communities in the Andes.

Treaties Matter: Northern Plains Treaties and the Dakota Access Pipeline: In this program, students will explore the choices and consequences Native Nations faced when entering into treaty negotiations with the United States during the period of westward expansion. By examining the intentions and outcomes of two specific treaties made between Northern Plains Nations and the US, students will build an understanding of the impact of those treaties today and be better able to empathize with current Native social justice issues.

American Indian Responses to Environmental Challenges. Learn how to use NMAI’s educational website, American Indian Responses to Environmental Challenges. Explore digital resources that reveal how the Leech Lake Ojibwe of Minnesota protect wild rice. Find out how traditional culture, values, and indigenous knowledge, along with Western science and technology, inform the environmental work of contemporary Native nations. Recommended for sixth-through ninth-grade teachers.

Posted Thursday, July 30, 2020 |

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