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November is American Indian Heritage Month.

Each November, the United States observes American Indian History Month (AIHM). Tap into this informative theme month with your students to add another dimension to your study of American history.

History of AIHM

At the turn of the century, an effort began to introduce a day of recognition to honor contributions to American society made by the first American people. Dr. Arthur C. Parker, a Seneca Indian, was one of the first proponents of the national day of recognition and the director of the Museum of Arts and Science in Rochester, NY. His first success in this campaign was persuading the Boy Scouts of America to mark a day in honor of "First Americans" for three consecutive years.

Then, the Congress of the American Indian Association decided to formally approach implementing an American Indian Day in the United States. In 1915, the Association's president, Reverend Sherman Coolidge, declared the second Saturday of May to be the new annual American Indian Day and made the initial formal appeal to recognize Native Americans as citizens of the United States.

From 1916 on, individual states declared their own American Indian Days, beginning with New York in May 1916. Other states selected the fourth Friday in September. It wasn't until the year 1990, when President George H.W. Bush approved a resolution that marked November as National American Indian Heritage Month, that a nationally recognized month in honor of American Indians came about.

Classroom Activities

Consider using games and activities to introduce concepts related to American Indian Heritage Month in your classroom this November. Lesson plans, presentations and more can be found at

Visit to find quizzes and crosswords to test your students' knowledge.

American Indian Terms

This American Indian Heritage Month, see if your students can
identify what words and terms originated in American Indian
languages. Use the glossary below to create a vocabulary activity:

American Indian   Caughnawaga  Great        moccasin      tomahawk

Movement (AIM)    cliff        hogan        Mound         totem
                  dwellers                  Builders

Anasazi           comanchero   Indian       National      tepee
                               Territory    Museum of

atlatl            coup         Indian Wars  the American  travois

Basket Makers     cradleboard  Iroquois     Native        vision
                               Confederacy  American      quest

Bering Strait     Dawes Act    kachina      Church        wampum

Black Hills       earth lodge  kiva         potlatch      wickiup

Bureau of Indian  Eastern      Little       Powhatan      wigwam
Affairs           Woodlands    Bighorn      Confederacy

(BIA)             culture      long house   powwow        Wounded

Cahokia Mounds    Five         medicine     pueblo        xat
                  Civilized    lodge

Calumet           Ghost Dance  medicine     sachem

Carlisle Indian                             sagamore

Visit for explanations
and definitions of terms.


Here's a list, compliments of the U.S. Census Bureau, of the top ten largest American Indian tribes and their numbers. See how many your students can name:

* Navaho (Population: 308,013)

* Cherokee (Population: 285, 476)

* Sioux (Population: 131,048)

* Chippewa (Population: 115,859)

* Choctaw (Population: 88,913)

* Apache (Population: 64,869)

* Pueblo (Population: 59,337)

* Iroquois (Population: 48,365) a Creek (Population: 44,085)

* Blackfeet (Population: 23,583)
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Title Annotation:Planning Ahead
Publication:Curriculum Review
Date:Oct 1, 2012
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