Providing Native Culture in your classroom

Guest blogger: Amanda Sorby, Nay Ah Shing High School, Onamia

I grew up about 30 minutes from the Mille Lacs Band Reservation, I had several Native American students in my school, local rivers, towns, and places held Native American names, and yet I hardly remember seeing native culture in my school let alone learning about it. We come from a state that’s history is rich in Native American influence yet our students rarely if ever see, hear, or experience it. Now as a teacher in a Native American school I am immersed in this culture on a daily basis and find it hard not to teach history without Native Americans. Because of this I try to pass on this knowledge to my family. I am blessed to be able to bring my children to cultural functions at the school and my hope is that my children will understand that this culture is alive today and question why it isn’t taught to them in school. But I am still learning every day and one of the most important things I have learned is that no matter where I teach in the future I will always incorporate as much Native American culture and history in my lessons as possible. I have created a “tool box” of Native American resources that I will carry with me through my teaching career.

There are many simple ways that I have incorporated culture in my classroom. Ojibwe words are labeled on items in my room. The date is in Ojibwe along with the days of the week on my schedule board.  I keep Native American newspapers available in my classroom. Posters of Native Americans are on the walls. These are simple things that teachers around the country can add to make their classrooms feel more multi-cultural.  There are many other resources available to use in teaching as well. I have been blessed by gaining a large collection of resources and books through the wonderful cultural staff that I have worked with along the way. Listed are some of my favorites.


Mille Lacs Band Historical Site:

Ojibwe People’s Dictionary:

American Indian Education (classroom games, lessons, and videos)


Iroquois Confederacy: (Government)

“We Shall Remain”

(Videos for Teens made by Teens)


“6 Misconceptions About Native American People | Teen Vogue”:

“What does it mean to be Aboriginal?”:


“Ojibwe in Minnesota” By Anton Treuer

“Ojibwe, Waasa Inaabidaa, We look in all Directions” By: Thomas Peacock and Marleene Wisuri

“Living Our Language” Edited By: Anton Treuer

News Papers: (Current Events)

“The Circle”

“Indian Country News”

“National Native News”

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