We encourage you to teach about American Indians to all populations of students, including our American Indian children. To help our students feel comfortable and to give accurate, respectful information to all students, we offer the resources below. You will find a wealth of information both to teach accurately about Indian tribes in a historical context and also to bring the thriving contemporary Indian world to your students, enabling you to present a balanced view – both historical and contemporary. It is crucial to our students’ well-being and future education that you educate yourself about contemporary American Indians in order to teach about us accurately. We hope that you take advantage of these helpful resources to expand your knowledge base, plan your instruction, and pass them along to your colleagues.
***Throughout these resources, these collective terms may be used interchangeably to refer to the indigenous populations of the United States: American Indian, Indian, Native American Indian, Native, First Nations, First People, and Indigenous.***
Resources for teachers:
- Chicago Public Schools Indigenous Peoples Day: Classroom Resources
- Indigenous People’s Day Toolkit
- A Racial Justice Guide to Thanksgiving for Educators and Families
- Beyond Pocahontas: Learning from Indigenous Women Changemakers
- Plants & Ojibwe Life: Food, Medicine, and Materials
- Useful Slides for Teachers
- Updated Book Resource Guide
- Iroquois Confederacy Lesson Plan
- Recommended Websites
- Directory of Native American Resources in Illinois
- More commonly asked questions!
- CPS Office of Language & Cultural Education Teacher Professional Development Presentation 1-20-18
- Annual Public Forum-Program Data Presentation 2-21-18
- American Indian Science and Engineering Society Resources
Children’s Classroom Activities:
The American Indian Family Resource Center has added more titles to its resource collections! Click on any of the links below to view our inventory:
Teachers: The CPS AIEP program is committed to providing resources and alternate reading materials for American Indian Studies in the classroom. Contact our staff for more information.
Top 5 Frequently Asked Questions about Native American Indians
Are there still Native Americans around today? Are there any in Chicago?
Yes. There are over 5,220,579 Native American / Alaskan Natives, comprising 1.7% of the total U.S. population. Chicago has a population of 26,933 Native American / Alaskan Natives, making us the 7th largest city in the nation with a Native American population. The number one city is 111,749 in New York, NY. This data is from the 2010 U.S. census and does not include First Nations which are indigenous people from Canada.
How many tribes are representated today?
There are 573 federally recognized tribes in the United States. A federally recognized tribe means the tribe has a government to government relationship with the U.S. and is considered to be a sovereign nation.
What exactly is a ‘Reservation’ and do all Native Americans live on them?
A reservation is an area of land managed by a Native American tribe under the United States Department of the Interior’s Bureau of Indian Affairs. There are 324 federally recognized American Indian reservations. Yes, people still live on the reservations today but many Native American people live all throughout the United States in different towns and urban cities as well. Actually about 70% of the total US. Native American Indian population lives in an urban city.
Do all Native Americans live in teepees?
No. “Native Americans are diverse, and each groups’ practices have changed over time, but that does not diminish their authenticity. Today at sun dances, powwows, and other events, members of some Plains tribes set up teepees. The Iroquois use a longhouse for ceremonial functions many tribes in the great lakes use wigwams for ceremonies. In parts of the Southwest hogans and pueblos are used for both ceremonial and everyday shelter.” (This excerpt is from the book “Everything You Wanted to Know about Indians But Were Afraid to Ask” by Anton Treuer)
Do all Native American Students get to go to college for free?
No. This is a very common myth, some tribes do offer scholarship programs; however, there are guidelines students must meet such as a good GPA, essays, etc, as well as meeting certain blood quantum qualifications. Blood quantum restrictions mean you must be recognized in your tribe as having a minimum percentage of that tribal ancestry.