Lessons & Resources | Native Knowledge 360°

Explore featured educational resources at http://nmai.si.edu/nk360/resources/ or search all educational resources using the search tool. Many of these resources are also available in print. Use the teaching materials order form to order print versions.

Video of our WKKF Oral Health Eval Work with UCSF!

“There had to be a better way.” Native Americans suffer from the poorest oral health of any population in the United States, with staggering rates of untreated tooth decay among children. Valerie “Nurr’araaluk” Davidson, commissioner at the Alaska Health and Social Services, shares how dental therapists have helped a new generation receive better oral health care.

Watch video online here: https://www.facebook.com/KelloggFoundation/videos/1462807733784493/

Webinar: Youth Empowerment Part 1 – Indigenous Food and Healing

Youth Empowerment Part 1: Indigenous Food and Healing

Webinar Date:

Wednesday, June 21, 2017


11 a.m. Alaska
12 p.m. Pacific
12 p.m. Arizona
1 p.m. Mountain
2 p.m. Central
3 p.m. Eastern

About the Webinar

Join the SAMHSA Tribal Training and Technical Assistance (TTA) Center, the Center for Native American Youth, and members of their 2017 Champions for Change class for a three-part webinar series on youth empowerment in Indian Country.

In Part 1 we will welcome Mariah Gladstone, who will discuss her work as founder of Indigikitchen, an online cooking show dedicated to the diets of indigenous communities. She will also discuss the growing understanding of food sovereignty and its connection to wellness in tribal communities.

Dr. Bowman Contributes to Population Guidelines for Native American Populations

Dr. Nicole Bowman contributed to Population Guidelines for Native American Populations (CA Reducing Disparities project). The report was submitted to the CA Office of Health Equity.

*Download the PDF of the report

Native Education and School Choice 101…register now!

Register today for the Tuesday, May 23, 12pm – 1pm CST, webinar “Native Education and School Choice 101—What Does Local Control Mean for Tribal Leaders and Educators?”

With the new Administration considering school choice as a vehicle for delivery of education, join this webinar intended to prepare tribal leaders to participate in the ongoing dialogue to determine what “Local Control” means for Native students. The webinar will present background and create an opportunity for tribal and educator input into federal policy recommendations on how tribes can gain increased control over education over Native students.

Register Here

After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the webinar.

NCAI Contact Information: Gwen Salt, Policy Analyst, gsalt@ncai.org

Report: Access to Capital and Credit in Native Communities

Report | Data Review 

The Native Nations Institute at The University of Arizona released a Data Review to accompany the Access to Capital and Credit in Native Communities Report commissioned by the U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFI) Fund. The Data Review’s three main sections summarize data describing access to capital and credit for Native consumers, Native business owners, and tribal communities and governments. Its companion document, the Report, identifies success stories within a more detailed topical analysis. The full two-part study is intended to provide research and analysis in support of improving access to capital and credit in Native Communities.

*Info from http://crcaih.org/news-and-events/550-report-access-to-capital-native-communities

Addressing the Misconceptions of Native Americans: The Role that History Plays in Our Schools!

Register for the June 16, 2017 training that will address the misconceptions of Native Americans in our school systems today. Western models of schools have historically been challenging places for Native American students to learn. History matters in teaching and learning! History has a profound effect on us all. What can we do to embolden and empower students to reflect the power that history has on us today? How can students use that history to make a better tomorrow? Join us for an opportunity to extend our understanding of knowing our neighbors while engaging in conversations about the historical impact of schools for Native American students with national speaker, Gyasi Ross.

Participant Outcomes

  • deepen their understanding of the Native American experience through the counter-stories shared throughout the day-long conversation
  • gain an understanding of the unique historical circumstances faced by Native people in the past and present
  • explore the Native American historical context and the effect it has on today’s students, families, and communities
  • examine how societal patterns and experiences for Native American students plays out in their education
  • explore ways in which school systems institutionalize practices that impact Native students’ outcomes
  • discover and examine ways to transform our school environments into places that nurture the spirit and foster high-level engagement and achievement for Native American students

Target Audience

  • District Administrators and Principals
  • Classroom Teachers
  • Curriculum Specialists, Directors of Instruction, Library Media Specialists
  • School Counselors, Social Workers, and Psychologists
  • Cooperative Educational Service Agencies (CESAs) Administrators and Staff
  • Home-School/Title VII/Johnson O’Malley (JOM) Coordinators and Staff
  • Tribal Education Directors and Staff
  • Head Start and Preschool Staff
  • College and University (especially Schools of Education) Students, Faculty, and Staff


Holiday Inn Stevens Point – Convention Center
Spruce/Sands Room
1001 Amber Ave.
Stevens Point, WI 54482
Ph: (715) 344-0200


Gyasi Ross is a father, uncle, author, national speaker, mentor, musician, and storyteller.  Gyasi comes from the Blackfeet Nation and resides on the Port Madison Indian Reservation near Seattle. TV and radio programs and print and online publications regularly seek his input on politics, sports, pop culture and the intersections thereof with Native life.

Ross is the author of Don’t Know Much About Indians (but I wrote a book about us anyways) (2011) and How to Say I Love You in Indian (2014). “I come from a family of storytellers. My family tells long stories, drinking coffee and blowing smoke in your face. It just fit for me to tell stories, and then I started writing them.” He is in demand as a speaker on race, social justice and white privilege as well as issues specifically affecting contemporary Native Americans and guests on MSNBC, ESPN, Democracy Now and radio shows nationwide. Ross writes for the Huffington Post, Indian Country Today, Deadspin and Gawker. Ross has also released a spoken word/hip hop CD titled “Isskootsik (Before Here was Here)” on Cabin Games Records.


“The Fire That is Beginning to Stand”: Teaching Historical Trauma at Stone Child College

History at its best helps the present make sense of the past. History at its best tells the nation’s story through the voices of all the people. These voices enlighten and provide wise counsel for the present, creating healthy and creative communities. History at its worst not only ignores the different voices, but eliminates them altogether. The resulting silence lives on and is seen and heard in the painful, dehumanizing community stories etched out regularly on American Indian reservations today. Yes, history at its worst is the narrative lived and experienced currently by the Indigenous peoples in the United States. This aftermath of the near extinction of the original peoples is still felt today, and its adverse effects are carried down from generation to generation. This phenomenon is known as historical trauma. In order to combat its adverse effects, it is critical to create new stories that are alive with the hope and determination reflective of a rich past that is not entirely lost.

Beginning in 2013, Stone Child College (SCC) engaged in a three-year process of designing and developing a comprehensive curriculum on historical trauma with the ultimate goal of individual and community healing. The title, Iskotew Kahmahch Opikik in Cree and Biskanewin Ishkode in Chippewa, is a metaphor for each Indigenous nation to begin reclaiming itself as a people. Each Indigenous nation has to fan the fires of rebirth to begin standing as a people, as a community with a sense of knowing how to connect to the trauma of the past in order to heal. Each nation needs to be the fire that burns— healthy and resilient, integrating the past and the present as a proud people.


Cultural traumas are created when attempts are made to eradicate part or all of a culture or people. Maria Yellow Horse Brave Heart, widely regarded as the mother of historical trauma consciousness among Native Americans, describes the phenomenon as “the cumulative emotional and psychological wounding over one’s lifetime and from generation to generation following loss of lives, land and vital aspects of culture” (Brave Heart & DeBruyn, 1998). This historical trauma is manifested in multiple ways and becomes more pronounced for each succeeding generation. As Carolyn Yoder (2005) asserts, the effects are cumulative and are seen in individual and group attitudes and behaviors in succeeding generations. The transgenerational transmission of these traumas can occur even when the next generation is not told the trauma story, or knows it only in broad outline. A “conspiracy of silence” surrounds events for which grieving and mourning have never taken place.

Unaddressed traumas affect not only those directly traumatized, but their families and future generations as well. Not releasing the trauma causes freezing, or trapping it in the nervous system. Brain researchers tell us that neurons which fire together, wire together. The more intense the experience, the tighter the neural association in the brain, making it difficult to release past memories and behaviors. Furthermore, reenactment behaviors are common in people who experience historical trauma. Such behaviors turn unhealed trauma energy against the self (acting in) or on others (acting out). Paradoxically, reenactments represent attempts to resolve the effects of trauma. Reenactment behaviors are a major public health issue and indicate that people and groups need psychosocial and spiritual help.

In addressing historical trauma at SCC, we began with these philosophical and educational tenets in mind: 1) education is an effective way to heal from our historical trauma of loss of land, loss of people, loss of family, and loss of culture; 2) each person must take responsibility for self-healing; and 3) as a communal culture, healing takes place within the context of community.

In regards to healing, we believe in: 1) Coming with gratitude— becoming more present to the wonder of being alive in this amazing world. 2) Honoring our pain—dedicating time and attention to honoring our pain ensures space for grief, outrage, and sorrow. This caring derives from our interconnectedness with all of life (a core Native belief). 3) Seeing with Native eyes—envisioning what is possible with a new understanding of our power to make a difference. 4) Going forth—clarifying our vision of how we can act for healing of our world, identifying practical steps that move our vision forward.

In teaching, we believe in the experiential—bridging theory with real world practice. We also believe in employing a high context, using multimedia formats with a variety of visuals so students can observe and listen. And we seek to be interactive, because processing in both small and large group formats helps internalize concepts and course content.


When organizing the course content, it became apparent that there were core concepts that needed to be revisited over a three-course sequence. The depth and expanse of the coverage varies from course to course. Using a spiral model (see figure 1) provided the opportunity for in-depth and repeated explorations of the key concepts of historical trauma from different perspectives, always with a focus on: What does historical trauma look like? How does it feel? What does it feel like to be healed?

The curriculum consists of three courses (three credits each), with each course organized into three units (see figure 2). These nine credits are designed to cover the topic of historical trauma in 135 hours of instruction. The three courses also serve as core requirements in several of SCC’s Associate of Science degree programs. The first course begins with an overview of the theory of historical trauma from confronting, understanding, and releasing the past to healing and transformation. Sherman Alexie’s book, The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian, was used as a real-world connection of how historical trauma plays out in the main character’s life. This novel was also used to illustrate the various phases of “the hero’s journey,” as articulated by Joseph Campbell (2008).

The second course revisits historical trauma but this time analyzes it by looking at the Maori, the Indigenous people of New Zealand. Through their life experience students gain an understanding of how historical trauma feels and what it looks like. They then step back to analyze the “acting out” behaviors (anger, rage, bullying, hypervigilance, nightmares, flashbacks, loss of capacity in working memory) and the “acting in” behaviors (depression, numbness, feeling weak or drained, difficulty concentrating or making decisions, feeling spaced out, unable to act, avoiding others).

The third course addresses historical trauma by taking a hard look at it within the community, using the qualitative research methodology of phenomenology to better understand how historical trauma is evident in the community—always looking at the solutions as well as the problems. Students receive hands-on experience in phenomenological research when they conduct 20 faceto- face interviews, gathering information from a cross section of community members ranging from young adults to elders. It was interesting to observe the students’ reactions when they began word-for-word transcriptions of these personal interviews along with an analysis of these data, noting the different themes that emerged. Suddenly, historical trauma became more real for them. Overall, SCC opted for a curriculum design that focuses on information processing and deep thinking. As illustrated in figure 3, first we begin with the big ideas and outcomes that serve as the foundation for the unit and course. Next, the assessments are linked to real-world experiences and require the student to demonstrate competence and understanding. Additionally, assessments are varied in order to appeal to the learning styles of the students, ranging from reading and writing assignments to projects, small and large group presentations, role playing, etc. Third, we develop a detailed lesson plan that gives ideas on how the actual teaching may proceed. Stage three can be adapted and modified according to time, place, and students. Lessons include readings, novels, short stories, dramatizations, discussions, video links, projects, and so on. The emphasis is always on engaging and challenging the students to understand the content and to demonstrate their understanding in their real-world contexts. Each unit has 12 to 15 lessons with options for adapting to fit the students’ needs.

When studying a phenomenon such as historical trauma, the goal is to look at the experiences from multiple points of view in order to eventually come to a sense of its essence. For example, how is historical trauma manifested today within the Rocky Boy reservation community? What do these manifestations signify for the participants and the community? Additionally, when considering the conscious aspects of a traumatic event, the researcher has to be aware and empathetic to the request of asking the participant to re-live an experience or set of experiences that may be extremely painful (Creswell, 2007).


Stone Child College has now taught the entire historical trauma curriculum during two summer terms and continues to teach it as an integral component of its overall academic curriculum. The college is hopeful that this information will help each person participating in the program to move toward the healing process, and that it will provide inspiration for the community at large, creating new stories that are alive with hope and determination reflective of a rich past not entirely lost.

V.P. Allery, Ph.D. (Cree), is a faculty member at Stone Child College. REFERENCES

Alexie, S. (2007). The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian. New York: Little, Brown and Company.

Brave Heart, M.Y.H., & DeBruyn, L.M. (1998). The American Indian Holocaust: Healing Historical Unresolved Grief. American Indian and Alaska Native Mental Health Research, 8(2), 60–82.

Campbell, J. (2008). The Hero with a Thousand Faces. Novato, CA: Joseph Campbell Foundation Publishers.

Creswell, J.W. (2007). Qualitative Inquiry and Research Design. London: Sage Publications.

Yoder, C. (2005). The Little Book of Trauma Healing: When Violence Strikes and Community Security Is Threatened. Intercourse, PA: Good Books Publishing.

U.S. Department of Education Applications for New Awards; Native American Language (NAL@ED) Program Grants Deadline June 8, 2017!

The Department of Education is inviting applications for new awards for (FY) 2017 for Indian Education Discretionary Grants Programs – NAL@ED Program.

  • Deadline for Notice of Intent to Apply: June 8, 2017.
  • Deadline for Transmittal of Applications: June 19, 2017

Purpose of Program: The purposes of the NAL@ED program are to:

(1) Support schools that use Native American and Alaska Native languages as the primary language of instruction;

(2) Maintain, protect, and promote the rights and freedom of Native Americans and Alaska Natives to use, practice, maintain, and revitalize their languages, as envisioned in the Native American Languages Act of 1990 (25 U.S.C. 2901 et seq.); and

(3) Support the Nation’s First Peoples’ efforts to maintain and revitalize their languages and cultures, and to improve educational opportunities and student outcomes within Native American and Alaska Native communities.

Application and Submission Information:

You can obtain an application package via the Internet or from the Education Publications Center (ED Pubs). To obtain a copy via the Internet, use the following address: http://www.ed.gov/​fund/​grant/​apply/​grantapps/​index.html. To obtain a copy from ED Pubs, write, fax, or call the following: ED Pubs, U.S. Department of Education, P.O. Box 22207, Alexandria, VA 22304. Telephone, toll free: 1-877-433-7827. FAX: (703) 605-6794. If you use a TDD or a TTY, call, toll free: 1-877-576-7734.


John Cheek, U.S. Department of Education, 400 Maryland Avenue SW., Room 3W207, Washington, DC 20202-6335. Telephone: (202) 401-0274 or by email: john.cheek@ed.gov.

If you use a telecommunications device for the deaf (TDD) or a text telephone (TTY), call the Federal Relay Service (FRS), toll free, at 1-800-877-8339.

First Nations is Accepting “Nourishing Native Children: Feeding Our Future” Grant Applications

First Nations Development Institute (First Nations) has launched a new grant program called “Nourishing Native Children: Feeding Our Future” thanks to generous funding provided by the Walmart Foundation. The effort will provide grants to Native American communities interested in expanding nutrition resources for existing programs that serve American Indian children ages 6-14. First Nations plans to award up to 10 grants of up to $15,000 each to continue or expand existing nutrition efforts.

The deadline for all online grant applications is May 5, 2017.
The grant period will commence June 1, 2017, and end January 31, 2018. The full Request for Proposals and the application link can be found at http://www.firstnations.org/grantmaking/2017NourishingNativeChildren.

For many Native children, meals provided by their school, nonprofit service provider, or through a take-home food program, may be the most consistent and/or nutritionally-balanced food they receive. The project’s two-fold goal is to support 10 Native American, community-based feeding programs in at least three states serving Native children ages 6-14, and to learn from these programs and other model programs about best practices, challenges, barriers to success, and systemic and policy issues affecting Native children’s hunger, and to foster partnerships among programs.

In conjunction with this grant opportunity, First Nations will host a facilitated, one-day convening with one representative from each of the 10 selected grantees to gather information, provide a networking opportunity, and discuss promising models and practices. The convening will be held during the national Food Sovereignty Summit between October 2 and 5, 2017, in Green Bay, Wisconsin. The Summit is co-hosted by First Nations and the Oneida Tribe of Indians of Wisconsin.

Entities eligible to apply are schools serving a primarily Native student body, Native nonprofit organizations that are Native-controlled 501(c)3s or tribally-controlled, and tribes. Eligible applicants will be rural- or reservation-based and will have existing feeding programs (not startups) and will provide nutritious food either at their facilities and/or through take-home programs (like backpack programs) to Native children aged 6-14.

First Nations is seeking existing Native American education programs that currently reach or will expand to reach a significant number of Native children in tribal communities that have significant rates of food insecurity or hunger. First Nations will also focus on programs that demonstrate the ability to collect data necessary to demonstrate impact, indicate willingness to participate in this project’s learning convening, and which have the potential for extrapolating lessons learned and best practices that will have relevance for other feeding programs for Native children. First Nations seeks programs that already have a programmatic policy component in place or indicate a strong interest in working toward systemic changes or policy changes to address children’s hunger in their communities and that will be sustainable beyond this grant period.