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Thursday, November 1, 2012

Native American Heritage Month: Teaching Tips and a Call for Responsible Student Research

November marks National Native American Heritage Month, and librarians aiming to help students become well-versed in the culture and history of Native people have plenty of options to engage kids of all ages.

Librarians can creatively "indigenize" their library—make their space welcoming to Native students—in a number of ways, from visual displays to accurate research tools, says Debbie Reese, Assistant Professor of American Indian Studies at the University of Illinois. Reese's website, American Indians in Children's Literature, provides a critical look at Native people's portrayal in books for young people and the school curriculum.

Within the library space, Reese suggests hanging posters of Native authors, and/or posters with the word "Read" in different Native languages. She also recommends that educators and students research the tribes that lived in their area and obtain a wall clock written in the Native language they spoke.