Index of Resources

Woodlands

The Haudenosaunee Guide for Educators (grades 3–8, with lesson plans and activities) is a great resource. Page 11 of the guide discusses the significance of the crops beans, corn, and squash—also known as Three Sisters. The Three Sisters is the subject of contemporary Seneca artist Marie Watt's textile work In the Garden, included in the exhibition of contemporary art Vantage Point.

Learn more by reading about Mohawk ironworkers on page 14 of the guide, then visiting Booming Out: Mohawk Ironworkers Build New York, an online photography exhibition focused on the Mohawk ironworking tradition and how it shaped the New York skyline. And don't forget our guide Manahatta to Manhattan (grades 4–8, includes lesson plans), which details the Native history of New York City.

The small online exhibition Across Borders: Beadwork in Iroquois Life illustrates how beadwork is not only part of everyday life for Iroquois people, but is also linked to their spiritual, economic, and political lives.

Two of the four communities highlighted in the NMAI Education project American Indian Responses to Environmental Challenges are located in the Woodlands region. Check out that project to learn more about how Akwesasne Mohawk people are protecting black ash trees or how the Leech Lake Ojibwe are preserving wild-rice habitats. Geared to students grades 5–10, this interactive site includes lesson plans and a template students can use to create presentations.

Drawing on new insights from archaeology, history, and art history, Infinity of Nations: Art and History in the Collections of the National Museum of the American Indian uses culturally, historically, and aesthetically significant objects as a point of entry to understanding the people who created them. The exhibition is organized by region; click here for Woodlands.

See also:
Theresa Hoffman discusses Native basket-making in Maine in The Language of Native American Baskets: From the Weavers' View.  

Chesapeake

We Have a Story to Tell: Native Peoples of the Chesapeake Region (grades 9–12, with lesson plans and activities) outlines tribal life in the Chesapeake area before contact with Europeans, then follows the tribes' histories from the colonial period through the present.

Younger students will enjoy reading Meet Naiche: A Native Boy from the Chesapeake Bay Region, praised by School Library Journal as "a great resource for teachers who want to give a human face to Native American studies." 

Plains

Download Lone Dog's Winter Count teaching poster (grades 4–8, includes lesson plans) to see how Plains storytellers used winter counts to record tribal history.

Learn more about Plains culture by downloading A Life in Beads: The Stories a Plains Dress Can Tell (grades 4–6, includes lesson plans) or visiting the online exhibition A Song for the Horse Nation: Horses in Native American Cultures, which discusses how the introduction of the horse revolutionized life on the Great Plains and includes many examples of horse-related objects from the NMAI collections. See how these traditions continue today through events such as the Crow Fair Parade.

Drawing on new insights from archaeology, history, and art history, Infinity of Nations: Art and History in the Collections of the National Museum of the American Indian uses culturally, historically, and aesthetically significant objects as a point of entry to understanding the people who created them. The exhibition is organized by region; click here for Plains and Plateau.

See also:
The exhibition Legends of Our Times: Native Ranching and Rodeo Life on the Plains and Plateau.

Plateau

Drawing on new insights from archaeology, history, and art history, Infinity of Nations: Art and History in the Collections of the National Museum of the American Indian uses culturally, historically, and aesthetically significant objects as a point of entry to understanding the people who created them. The exhibition is organized by region; click here for Plains and Plateau.

The exhibition Legends of Our Times: Native Ranching and Rodeo Life on the Plains and Plateau traces the history of Native people as buffalo hunters, horsemen, ranchers, and cowboys, and as entertainers and participants in the sport of rodeo.

Identity by Design: Tradition, Change, and Celebration in Native Women's Dresses presents historical and contemporary Native dresses, dating from the early 1800s to the present, from the Plains, Plateau, and Great Basin regions of the United States and Canada. Contributors to the exhibition expand on key ideas in a selection of related videos.

A Song for the Horse Nation: Horses in Native American Cultures celebrates the influence of horses on Native communities. Click here for a selection of horse gear made by Plateau peoples.

See also:
Contemporary basketmaker Pat Courtney Gold discusses Plateau baskets in the online exhibition The Language of Native American Baskets: From the Weavers' View.

Great Basin

Identity by Design: Tradition, Change, and Celebration in Native Women's Dresses presents historical and contemporary Native dresses, dating from the early 1800s to the present, from the Plains, Plateau, and Great Basin regions of the United States and Canada. Contributors to the exhibition expand on key ideas in a selection of related videos.

Drawing on new insights from archaeology, history, and art history, Infinity of Nations: Art and History in the Collections of the National Museum of the American Indian uses culturally, historically, and aesthetically significant objects as a point of entry to understanding the people who created them. The exhibition is organized by region; click here for California and the Great Basin.

Southwest

Download NMAI's teaching poster Native People and the Land: The A:shiwi (Zuni Pueblo) People (grades 6–8) for information and lesson plans about A:shiwi environmental philosophies and agricultural practices.

Learn more by studying sculptures by contemporary artist Nora Naranjo-Morse (Santa Clara Pueblo). This video, the first in a series of ten about her sculpture Always Becoming, is a great place to begin. You can then view other works by Naranjo-Morse in the NMAI collections, and read about the meaning behind her sculpture Stories upon Stories, featured in the exhibition Vantage Point.

Drawing on new insights from archaeology, history, and art history, Infinity of Nations: Art and History in the Collections of the National Museum of the American Indian uses culturally, historically, and aesthetically significant objects as a point of entry to understanding the people who created them. The exhibition is organized by region; click here for the Southwest.

See also:
Artist Terrol Johnson (Tohono O'odham) discusses southwestern baskets in The Language of Native American Baskets: From the Weavers' View.  

Arctic and Subarctic

Drawing on new insights from archaeology, history, and art history, Infinity of Nations: Art and History in the Collections of the National Museum of the American Indian uses culturally, historically, and aesthetically significant objects as a point of entry to understanding the people who created them. The exhibition is organized by region; click here for the Arctic and Subarctic.

Northwest Coast

Visit the museum's new interactive Environmental Learning Site to find out how about how the Lummi Nation of Washington State is working to protect the wild salmon population. Geared to students grades 5–10, this interactive site includes lesson plans and a template students can use to create presentations.

In Listening to Our Ancestors: The Art of Native Life along the North Pacific Coast, representatives from 11 Northwest Coast communities share their perspectives on ceremonial and everyday objects that connect them to their lands, customs, and ancestors. Click here to watch videos of community curators discussing objects in the exhibition.

Drawing on new insights from archaeology, history, and art history, Infinity of Nations: Art and History in the Collections of the National Museum of the American Indian uses culturally, historically, and aesthetically significant objects as a point of entry to understanding the people who created them. The exhibition is organized by region; click here for the Northwest Coast.

See also:
Contemporary maker Lisa Telford discusses Northwest Coast baskets in The Language of Native American Baskets: From the Weavers' View.

Native Alaskan artist and poet Jim Schoppert (Tlingit) is the focus of the retrospective Instrument of Change.

California

Artist Fritz Scholder (Luiseño, 1937–2005) frequently explored what it means to be Indian in contemporary America. Check out the online exhibition Fritz Scholder: Indian/Not Indian, including the related 8-minute film and podcast, then review A Guide for Young People 7 and Up, the Fritz Scholder Study Guide (grades 5–8), or the Fritz Scholder Family Guide.

To get another perspective on what it means to be Indian, discuss the work of artist James Luna (La Jolla Band of Mission [Luiseño] Indians, b. 1950). Read about Emendatio, Luna's 2005 presentation at the Venice Biennale, paying special attention to the installation Chapel for Pablo Tac, shown again in the exhibition Vantage Point. Check out that show's Education Guide for information and questions to consider.

Drawing on new insights from archaeology, history, and art history, Infinity of Nations: Art and History in the Collections of the National Museum of the American Indian uses culturally, historically, and aesthetically significant objects as a point of entry to understanding the people who created them. The exhibition is organized by region; click here for California and the Great Basin.

Visit the museum's new interactive website American Indian Responses to Environmental Challenges to learn more about how the Campo Kumeyaay are managing water supplies using traditional methods.

See also:
The exhibition Memory and Imagination: The Legacy of Maidu Indian Artist Frank Day.

Julia Parker and Sherrie Smith-Ferri discussing Pomo baskets in the exhibition The Language of Native American Baskets: From the Weavers' View.

Mexico

The online exhibition Ancient Mexican Art: From the Collection of the National Museum of the American Indian presents examples of ceramic vessels, animal and figurative imagery, and ceremonial and funerary art, among other objects. This website is offered in both English and Spanish.

In The Edge of Enchantment: Sovereignty and Ceremony in Huatulco, México, photographs by Roberto Ysáis speak to the history and culture of the Native people of coastal Oaxaca.

Great Masters of Mexican Folk Art highlights hundreds of works of art by some of Mexico's greatest living folk artists. Divided into nine sections, based on media, this exhibition shows that Mexican folk art is steeped in the cultures of a diverse society.

Mesoamerica and the Caribbean

The Art of Being Kuna: Layers of Meaning Among the Kuna of Panama discusses the importance of the mola—a highly graphic blouse worn by women—to Kuna expressive culture.

Drawing on new insights from archaeology, history, and art history, Infinity of Nations: Art and History in the Collections of the National Museum of the American Indian uses culturally, historically, and aesthetically significant objects as a point of entry to understanding the people who created them. The exhibition is organized by region; click here for Mesoamerica and the Caribbean.

The New Old World: Antilles—Living Beyond the Myth documents the contemporary lives of Taíno and Carib indigenous peoples of the Caribbean through their own words and photographs by Puerto Rican–born artist Marisol Villanueva. 

Amazon

Drawing on new insights from archaeology, history, and art history, Infinity of Nations: Art and History in the Collections of the National Museum of the American Indian uses culturally, historically, and aesthetically significant objects as a point of entry to understanding the people who created them. The exhibition is organized by region; click here for the Amazon.

Andes

Drawing on new insights from archaeology, history, and art history, Infinity of Nations: Art and History in the Collections of the National Museum of the American Indian uses culturally, historically, and aesthetically significant objects as a point of entry to understanding the people who created them. The exhibition is organized by region; click here for the Andes.

See also:
The NMAI blog for Qhapaq Ñan: Road of the Inka, a series of posts on the museum's research in the Andean region.

An interview with Quechuan gourd-carving artist Irma Luz Poma Canchumani on the NMAI blog.

Patagonia, Tierra del Fuego, and Gran Chaco

Drawing on new insights from archaeology, history, and art history, Infinity of Nations: Art and History in the Collections of the National Museum of the American Indian uses culturally, historically, and aesthetically significant objects as a point of entry to understanding the people who created them. The exhibition is organized by region; click here for Patagonia, Tierra del Fuego, and Gran Chaco.

Hawai`i

Click here for video highlights from the Celebrate Hawai'i festival.

Click here for clips from a production of The Conversion of Ka`Ahumanu, a play set in early-19th-century Hawai`i that explores the complex relationships between Christian missionaries and indigenous women.

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