Just like pretty much everything this year, Indigenous Peoples’ Day will look a bit different. However, kids will still have the day off school! This is a chance to get out and do something fun with your kids before the cold weather hits. It is also a perfect opportunity to educate your little ones about their country’s history and celebrate Indigenous people. Here are some great ways to educate, engage and enjoy with your kids this Indigenous Peoples’ Day:
If you want to teach your kiddos about peaceful activism, this socially distanced sit-in is a great opportunity to get them engaged. The event is to commemorate Black, Indigenous, and people of color who have been lost to racial injustice over the years. This probably isn’t the best event for younger kids, but this would be a perfect way to show your middle or high schooler what civic engagement looks like and also teach them about some of the tougher parts of our history.
2. Read a Book Together
One of the best ways to teach your kids about the history of Indigenous people in America is through books. Be sure to pick up books with Indigenous authors so you can support the communities you are learning about. Take some time to go to the park with your kids and read a book that can teach them more about Indigenous people. Here are a few good examples: Bowwow Powwow, Apple in the Middle, We are Grateful. Check out this list of books recommended by Dr.Debbie Reese, founder and co-editor of American Indians in Children’s Literature.
3. Watch a Short Educational Film
Another great way to educate your kids (and yourself) about the real history of America (like the history we didn’t learn in school) is to watch an educational film. Check out this great 5-minute film on Youtube, “History v. Christopher Columbus,” it breaks down a lot of the misconceptions about who Columbus was and what he did. The film might not be appropriate for younger kids, but kids 10 and up could learn a lot from it.
While parades may be canceled and museums aren’t holding their regularly scheduled programming, Smithsonian’s National Museum of the American Indian is hosting a virtual Indigenous Peoples’ Day celebration over Zoom. The event is advertised for middle and high school students, but all are welcome. The event will feature young native activists and focus on the question of how our history informs our way forward as a nation. The event is one hour long and will also feature a musical performance.
5. Plant Native Plants
Whether in your own yard, a nearby park, or a neighbor’s house, planting plants that are native to your area is a great way to give back to the planet. The Forest Service has lots of resources on its website about gardening with native plants and flowers.