2017 Indigenous Peoples’ Day Curriculum Night

More than thirty teachers gathered on October 2, 2017 for an Indigenous Peoples’ Day Curriculum Night at Busboys and Poets. Hosted by D.C. Area Educators for Social Justice, the event began with a “people bingo” activity that provided educators from various schools and organizations an opportunity to meet and get to know one another. Through a combination of brief presentations and structured discussions, educators shared curriculum ideas and strategies for teaching about Columbus and Indigenous Peoples’ history and life today. Presentations by D.C. area teacher and students included:

  • Renee Gokey, Teacher Services Coordinator at the National Museum of the American Indian (NMAI), shared the museum’s educator programs, online lesson about Indian Removal, and upcoming exhibit titled Americans.
  • DCPS educator Megan Huber from the Alice Deal Middle School shared her experience using the popular role play lesson The People vs. Columbus, et al with her 8th grade students
  • Capitol City Public Charter School teacher Amrita Wassan—accompanied by three of her juniors, Angel Miranda, Vivian Nguyen and Karte Mponda—reported on the activities they engaged in to learn about native nations, the Taino Indians, and Columbus. The students described their campaign to #AbolishColumbusDay and establish Indigenous People’s Day, explained to educators why they think youth activism is important for political and social movements, and encouraged educators to involve their students and schools in their campaign.
  • Bill Stevens, SEED Public Charter School high school teacher, discussed how he used the Standing with Standing Rock: A Role Play on the Dakota Access Pipeline lesson to prepare his students to participate in the #NativeNationsRise march held on March 10, 2017.

Here are comments by participants about what they learned and valued from the night’s session:

The movement to abolish Columbus Day is growing and the educational resources to teach better about indigenous people are becoming stronger.

I appreciated the role of student voice, and resources from National Museum of the American Indian (NMAI).

It was empowering to hear from students and teachers.

I think teaching using a mock trial works very well to get the interest of the students and think in a deeper way about history.

I appreciated conferencing with other teachers.

Thank you for the resources provided by Teaching for Change, teacher presenters and the NMAI.

I learned some strategies that would help me engage my students. In addition, I loved learning about all the available resources.

I love that the teachers brought handouts. Loved the student participation.

I loved the BINGO! Great way to get to know others.

Indigenous People's Day Curriculum Night
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