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Learn about the Native American Curriculum Initiative

The Native American Curriculum Initiative, also known as NACI, is a collaboration between the BYU ARTS Partnership, the Utah Division of Arts and Museums (UDAM), and representatives from Utah's Native American tribes, designed to teach children about Native history and culture through the arts.

Amplifying Native Voices

The goals of NACI are to:

  • Inspire culturally responsive teaching

  • Increase teachers' willingness and confidence to address Native American content in the classroom

  • Provides teachers with accurate, authentic, non-stereotypical, and tribe-approved information about Native American cultures

  • Supports teachers in integrating Native American-themed materials to teach other subjects throughout the year

  • Brings indigenous tribes/nations into the present

  • Honors native artists as teaching artists and presenters in schools.

Partnering with Utah's Tribal Nations

The BYU Art Partnership has established a collaborative partnership with tribal nations of Utah in the creation of lessons that align with tribal customs and traditions. NACI resources provide arts-integrated lesson plans, an artist roster, and other resources in partnership with and approved by tribes will add validity and another layer of confidence and support for teachers and children

Check out these NACI resources:

  • Native Knowledge 360° (NK360°): This website provides educators and students with new perspectives on Native American history and cultures. They also provide educational materials, virtual student programs, and teacher training that incorporate Native narratives, more comprehensive histories, and accurate information to enlighten and inform teaching and learning about Native America.

  • National Indian Association (NIEA): NIEA was formed by Native educators in 1969 to encourage a national discourse on Native education. They work to bring Native educators together to explore ways to improve schools and the schooling of Native children, to promote the maintenance and continued development of Native languages and cultures, and to develop and implement strategies for influencing local, state, and federal policy and policymakers.

  • Native American Literacy Project: This project was made possible through funding from the State of Utah. Five traditional stories from each of the Utah tribes, Uintah-Ouray, Paiute, Northwest Band of Shoshone, Goshute, Navajo, and Ute Mountain Ute were recorded and their narratives represent tales that are intended to both teach and amuse. These sets of booklets are available for purchase on their website.

There are plenty of resources available to become more educated on Native American History and resources that help us learn how we can incorporate it in our future classrooms. As future educators, one of our goals should be improving the quality of and access to Native American curriculum that benefits all students. For nonnative students, it can lead to greater awareness and compassion. For native students, it can teach strength and resiliency, and foster positive identity development

Check out the Native American Curriculum Initiative website for more information and additional resources!

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