Professional development opportunities for teachers at the National Museum of the American Indian are hands-on, standards aligned, and cross-curricular. Workshops span a range of relevant topics and incorporate Native narratives and more comprehensive histories that enable teachers to connect classroom needs with the museum's robust collections and accurate teaching resources. These sessions help educators explore new content about American Indian cultures and history and model strategies for teaching with objects and resources in the classroom. Workshops include classroom-ready resources, as well as interactive opportunities to explore common assumptions about Native peoples of the past and their ongoing relevance and vibrancy today.

Program Description

Teachers know that it is impossible to teach about America—its history, government, cultures, environment, and society—without teaching about American Indians. The Smithsonian's National Museum of the American Indian (NMAI) has launched Native Knowledge 360° (NK360°), a national education initiative, to promote improved teaching and learning about American Indians. The NK360° 2018 Summer Teacher Institute provides professional development and teacher training for educators so that they can bring accurate, appropriate, and more complete understandings about American Indians to their students with greater confidence. Hosted in Washington, DC, the 2018 Summer Teacher Institute will feature four new online inquiries that were developed in close collaboration with Native communities, classroom teachers, cultural experts, and university scholars.

Following the College, Career, and Civic Life (C3) Inquiry Design Model, the four newest NK360° inquiries feature a diverse collection of classroom-ready sources, including: primary and secondary texts; Native perspectives; contemporary and historic images; objects from the museum's collection; and media, digital tools, and interactivity. The content is accompanied by materials for teachers and skills-based assessments for students that are carefully aligned to Common Core State Standards and the C3 Framework for Social Studies State Standards.

Goals and Objectives

Studies show that standards, textbooks, and curriculums often relegate Native Americans to the distant past and fail to highlight social, cultural, and political lives of America's Native Peoples and Nations. Persistent myths and misperceptions promote and perpetuate ignorance among the general population while negatively affecting American Indian Peoples and Nations themselves. NK360° seeks to build a movement of teachers and advocates to improve teaching and learning about American Indians. During the NK360° 2018 Summer Teacher Institute, NMAI's educators, scholars, and experts from Native communities will work with attendees to enhance their confidence and ability to improve their teaching about American Indians.

Throughout the institute participants will:

  • Be immersed in accurate and culturally appropriate Native-based sources (the NK360° online inquiries)
  • Reflect on the importance of culture when teaching and learning about American Indians
  • Plan the integration of inquiry-based pedagogy into their existing curriculums
  • Learn to teach at least two new NK360° inquiries

About the Institute and Who Can Apply

The National Museum of the American Indian's NK360° Summer Teacher Institute will take place from July 9 through July 12, 2018. The Institute is open to educators of grades 6–12 who have at least two years of classroom experience.

Applicants should be aware that the Institute is located in Washington, DC, and if selected they will be required stay in Washington, DC, from July 8 (p.m.) to July 12 (4 p.m.). The Institute is offered free of charge! In addition, housing as well as breakfast and lunch are provided for the duration of the Institute. Attendees are responsible for the cost of their travel to and from Washington, DC.

Please note: Institute attendees are expected to follow protocols established by NMAI education in order to implement two NK360° inquiry-based lessons and deliver a professional-development training for educators about the need and impact of NK360°. Applicants should be interested in inquiry-based instruction and familiar with the Common Core State Standards and the C3 Framework.

Apply Now

Preview the Four New NK360° Online Inquiries!

The four online inquiries stem from NMAI's exhibit Nation to Nation: Treaties Between the United States and American Indian, which explores U.S.–American Indian treaty relationships from the colonial period through the present.

The inquiries are organized by region: the Northern Plains and the Pacific Northwest. Each region features two inquiry-based modules: one that relates to the history and cultures of the Native Nations and Peoples in that region and one that explores a treaty-related issue specific to the region.

Pacific Northwest History and Cultures Inquiry: Why Do the Foods We Eat Matter?

This inquiry provides perspectives from Native American community members, images, objects, and other sources to help students and teachers understand the efforts of Native Nations of the Pacific Northwest to protect and sustain salmon, water, and homelands.

Pacific Northwest Fish Wars Inquiry: What Kinds of Actions Can Lead to Justice?

This inquiry provides perspectives from Native American community members and their supporters, images, news footage, an interactive timeline, and other sources about an important campaign to secure the treaty rights and sovereignty of Native Nations of the Pacific Northwest.

Northern Plains History and Cultures Inquiry: How Do Native People and Nations Experience Belonging?

This inquiry provides perspectives from Native American community members, images, objects, and other sources to help students and teachers think about the significance that homelands, kinship systems, and nationhood hold for Native Peoples of the Northern Plains. Explore four case studies to learn more about the relationships that help to create a sense of belonging.

Northern Plains Treaties Inquiry: Is a Treaty Intended to Be Forever?

This inquiry offers perspectives from Native American community members, images, documents, and other sources to help students and teachers understand the difficult choices and consequences Northern Plains Native Nations faced when entering into treaty negotiations with the United States. Examine the intentions, motivations, and outcomes of two treaties: the 1851 Horse Creek Treaty and 1868 Fort Laramie Treaty.

Washington, DC
New York, NY

National Museum of the American Indian
Fourth Street & Independence Ave., S.W.
Washington, DC 20560

There are no upcoming events scheduled in Washington, DC at this time. Please check back at a later date.

National Museum of the American Indian in New York
Alexander Hamilton U.S. Custom House
One Bowling Green
New York, NY 10004

Essential Understandings: New Possibilities for Student Learning Experiences

April 19, 2018

4:30–7 PM

Learn about the NMAI's national education initiative, Native Knowledge 360°, and its Framework for Essential Understandings about American Indians. This workshop will address culturally sensitive ways to approach the study of diverse American Indian cultures in the classroom. This foundational workshop will support the teaching of indigenous peoples' history, culture, and art and help teachers learn concepts and strategies to assess educational materials in their schools and libraries.

P Credit and CTLE Course Offering | Tell Me About It: Oral Language Development Through Phonological Awareness, Visual Literacy, and Storytelling

May 5, 2018 | 9 AM–4 PM (Everyone Reading, 30 Broad Street, Suite 402)

May 6, 2018 | 10 AM–5 PM

How can oral language proficiency support literacy and school achievement? Offered in collaboration with Everyone Reading, this two-day course will provide strategies to support oral language and auditory development, guiding you through the progression from speaking to reading and writing. On Day Two, learn more activities and insights for your classroom as you gain a deeper understanding of oral traditions and non-text-based storytelling in different American Indian cultures, using visual literacy, culturally specific oral vocabulary, and object-based learning.


imagiNATIONS Activity Center: Open House for Teachers

May 17, 2018

5–7:30 PM

Join the museum on opening day of the family-friendly, interactive imagiNATIONS Activity Center. In this space, visitors of all ages will explore Native scientific discoveries and inventions so ingenious many continue to affect the modern world. This exploration is made even more fun by solving puzzles, performing experiments, and playing state-of-the-art computer simulations. Reservations required.


American Indian Removal: What Does it Mean to Remove a People

June 7, 2018

9 AM–3 PM

Learn more about the U.S. government's American Indian removal policies of the 19th century and their lasting effects on Native nations. Explore NMAI online resources that examines first-person perspectives from Native American communities through documents, maps, and multimedia resources.