Monday, October 9, 2023, is Indigenous Peoples' Day, a meaningful holiday that allows us to honor and celebrate the rich cultures, histories, and contributions of Indigenous peoples around the world.
As parents, it's essential to introduce kids to this important day and foster an understanding and respect for Indigenous communities. We’ve gathered creative and engaging ways to help kids learn about Indigenous Peoples' Day.
Storytelling and Literature
One of the most accessible ways to introduce kids to Indigenous Peoples' Day is through storytelling. Books, both fiction and non-fiction, can provide valuable insights into the diverse cultures and traditions of Indigenous peoples. Here are some of our favorites:
- The Girl and the Wolf by Katherena Vermette
- Fry Bread by Kevin Noble Maillard
- I am Sacagawea by Brad Meltzer, Christopher Eliopoulos (illustrator)
- We All Play by Julie Flett
- We Sang You Home by Richard Van Camp, Julie Flett (illustrator)
- Ancestor Approved: Intertribal Stories for Kids edited by Cynthia Leitich Smith
Visit Museums and Cultural Centers
If your city has a museum and cultural center dedicated to Indigenous history and heritage, check out events happening in October. Plan a family trip to one of these institutions where kids can engage with exhibits, artifacts, and interactive displays. Some museums even offer special programs and events for children, providing a hands-on learning experience.
Introduce your kids to the world of Indigenous art by visiting galleries, exploring online exhibitions, or watching documentaries. Discuss the symbolism and meaning behind Indigenous artwork to help children appreciate the creativity and storytelling within these pieces.
If you don’t have a local museum, check out the virtual exhibitions and events at the National Museum of the American Indian.
Traditional Arts and Crafts
Engaging in traditional arts and crafts is a fantastic way to immerse kids in Indigenous culture. Whether it's creating dream catchers, beading, or learning to weave, these activities can teach children about the importance of craftsmanship and cultural preservation.
There are great ideas online, including instructional videos and books on various Indigenous art forms to get started. We love this post by Artsy Craftsy Mom with nine meaningful Native American crafts for kids.
Cooking Indigenous Foods
Exploring Indigenous cuisine is a delicious way to celebrate this day. Cook traditional dishes with your kids, such as fry bread, bannock, or indigenous-inspired tacos. As you prepare the meal together, discuss the significance of these foods in Indigenous cultures and the role they play in their history.
Attend Indigenous Performances
Many Indigenous communities host events and dance performances open to the public. These events provide an excellent opportunity for kids to witness the vibrant and captivating traditions of Indigenous peoples firsthand.
Check local event listings on Facebook or other community bulletin boards for opportunities to attend these performances. Open up a new world to your kids by bringing them to these culturally rich experiences.
Learn About Indigenous Languages
Language is a significant part of any culture. Encourage your children to learn a few basic words or phrases from Indigenous languages. There are online resources and apps that make language learning accessible and fun (there are even some apps you can download).
Understanding the importance of language in preserving culture can be an eye-opening experience for kids.
Teaching kids about Indigenous Peoples' Day is an essential step toward promoting cultural awareness, respect, and understanding. By incorporating these creative and engaging activities into your kid’s learning experience, you can help them develop a deep appreciation for the rich and diverse cultures of Indigenous peoples.
As we celebrate this meaningful holiday, let's continue to honor the past and work towards a future where Indigenous cultures are valued and respected by all.