As we recognize the second Monday in October as Indigenous Peoples' Day, we invite our families to learn more about the day’s meaning. The idea of Indigenous Peoples' Day was first conceived in 1977 at the International Conference on Discrimination Against Indigenous Populations. To date, only 15 states formally recognize Indigenous Peoples’ Day, despite numerous local cities and institutions that have adopted the holiday.
Lowell’s approach to teaching history—that of valuing multiple perspectives and highlighting underrepresented stories—gives students tools to think critically about how our nation was formed and how those in power shape historical narratives. Director of Diversity, Inclusion, and Equity Initiatives Michelle Belton says, “Many possibilities exist for incorporating the historical and current stories of indigenous peoples in the Americas.” Michelle has worked in partnership with teachers and librarians to develop library collections and curriculum highlighting the Indigenous experience. Lowell’s social studies and Spanish curricula include units, projects, and discussions of indigenous peoples throughout Primary and Middle Schools. A few highlights include:
a study of indigenous people of the Northwest Coast in 2nd grade;
an examination of the complexities of westward expansion and the Indian Removal Act in 5th grade;
investigations into the culture and rights of indigenous populations in Central and South America throughout the Spanish curriculum; and
Middle School discussions of contemporary land rights issues, Native American activism, Native logos for sports teams, and the emergence of the Indigenous Peoples’ Day movement.
Advocacy for Indigenous People can take many forms. As we work toward becoming allies, it is important to seek guidance from the local communities you want to support and to amplify voices and experiences that are silenced.
Want to Learn More? Here are a few resources to help parents guide conversations with their children.
Lowell School is a private PK-8th grade school located in NW Washington, DC. At Lowell students gain the knowledge, skills, and social-emotional literacy to be the bold leaders and creative problem solvers our world needs.