Teacher's Guide

The Teacher's Guide offers resources for social studies educators to integrate Native American history into school curricula. The guide includes five film-specific sections with post-viewing questions, plus activities designed to foster student understanding of the important themes and issues that make Native history an essential part of American history. Teachers will find the following textbook helpful in teaching this material: R. David Edmunds, Frederick E. Hoxie, and Neal Salisbury The People: A History of Native America. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Co., 2007.


Free on-line American Indian Documentaries

Sand Creek Massacre of 1864 (Cheyenne/Arapho) 17 minutes
Telling It the Right Way: Chiricahua Apache Prisoners of War (5:51)


NIEA Culture-Bases Educational Curriculum


Native American Heritage Month - Resources for Teachers


Nation to Nation

Treaties between the United States and the American Indian Nations

DVD's Available for Checkout! (AIEP Consortium Districts Only)

A Blackfeet Encounter (57 minutes)
A Blackfeet Encounter uncovers the rich Blackfeet history and culture, traces the aftermath of the expedition's arrival and illustrates the challenges and triumphs of the Blackfeet people today. 

Bridge the Gap to Pine Ridge with Chris Bashinelli - Special Edition (56 minutes)
Join Global Explorer, Chris Bashinelli, on an introspective adventure through the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation. Embark on a life-changing buffalo harvest, get schooled by a women's basketball team, be inspired by a 14-year old suicide prevention activist, and watch Chris shove his arm shoulder-deep up a cow's backside while trying to better understand employment on the Reservation. With humor and pathos, he uncovers stories of hope and learns how Lakota culture has prevailed in the face of adversity.

For the Rights of All: Ending Jim Crow in Alaska (57 minutes)
This documentary reveals the true-life story of an extraordinary Alaskan woman who becomes an unlikely hero in the fight for civil rights. 

Games of the North (27 minutes)
For thousands of years, traditional Inuit sports have been vital for survival within the unforgiving Arctic. Acrobatic and explosive, these ancestral games evolved to strengthen mind, body and spirit within the community.

Following four modern Inuit athletes reveals their unique relationship to the games as they compete across the North. As unprecedented change sweeps across their traditional lands, their stories illuminate the importance of the games today. 

Indian Country Diaries Deluxe Educational Edition (86 minutes each)
Indian Country Diaries goes inside modern Native American communities to reveal a diverse people working to revitalize their culture while improving the social, physical, and spiritual health of their people. This DVD set includes both programs in the series A Seat at the Drum and Spiral of Fire plus extra features. 

Looking Toward Home (57 minutes)
This film shows how government relocation programs in the 1950s enticed significant numbers of Native Americans to leave the reservation for life in major cities such as, Los Angeles, Chicago, New York, and the San Francisco Bay Area. The life and times of urban Indians is shown primarily through the eyes of these individuals and subsequent generations as they maintain their tribal identity far away from the culturally nurturing climate of the reservation. 

Medicine Game, The (57 minutes)
"There are two times of the year that stir the blood. In the fall for the hunt, and now for lacrosse." -Chief Oren Lyons, Jr. (Onondaga/Seneca)

Two brothers from the Onondaga Nation pursue their dreams of playing lacrosse for national powerhouse Syracuse University. The obstacles in their way are frequent and daunting, but their love for the game, each other, and their family's unyielding determination, propels these youth towards their dream.

American Indian Responses to Environmental Changes

Throughout their long histories, American Indian peoples have thrived on, respected, and protected the environments that make up their homelands. Being good stewards of the environment remains important to American Indians today.


Lesson plan for Grades 6-12

Native Words, Native Warriors

The National Museum of the American Indian honors American Indian Code Talkers. This is a companion website to the traveling Smithsonian Institution exhibition, Native Words, Native Warriors.

Private First Class Preston Toledo (left) and Private First Class Frank Toledo, Navajo Code Talkers. 1

During World War I and World War II, hundreds of American Indians joined the United States armed forces and used words from their traditional tribal languages as weapons. The United States military asked them to develop secret battle communications based on their languages—and America’s enemies never deciphered the coded messages they sent. “Code Talkers,” as they came to be known after World War II, are twentieth-century American Indian warriors and heroes who significantly aided the victories of the United States and its allies.

To see the Lesson Plan, please click http://nmai.si.edu/education/codetalkers/

NMAI Classroom Lessons


The museum provides a variety of materials for use in the classroom. All have been developed by the museum's education staff in collaboration with Native community members. These materials offer rich Native perspectives on the history and contemporary life of many different Native tribes. Although these resources are grouped by category, they often address multiple themes.

Many of these resources are available in print. To order, fax the Publications Order form to 202-633-6894.