The Center for Interactive Learning and Collaboration compiles virtual learning experiences to give historical and cultural context to the Indigenous experience in North America

North Mankato, Minn. – The culture and history of Indigenous people in North America have long been relegated to a footnote in our children’s education. Social studies and history textbooks offer a glossed over snapshot of the Native American experience, seldom painting the broader picture of their expansive impact and contribution, past and present. Yet, our nation’s history and identity are interwoven with and influenced by the culture and experiences of Indigenous tribes. School districts across the United States are coming to the realization that a reassessment of their curriculum is overdue. Many are implementing more robust teaching initiatives to not just highlight, but give deeper, meaningful context to Indigenous experiences in North America. A recent report indicated that while almost 90% of states surveyed said they have efforts underway to improve the quality of and access to Native American curriculum, there is still work to be done.
Educators especially are looking for ways to deepen students’ understanding of the complicated history of the Indigenous experience in America and offer varying perspectives that can be missing from traditional curricular materials. As one Minnesota teacher put it, “I am from a state with 11 federally recognized tribal nations and more than 23,000 Native American students; it is our responsibility not just to embed Indigenous history into preexisting lessons, but also to offer cultural context and multiple viewpoints that help create a holistic educational experience.” To aid in this effort, The Center for Interactive Learning and Collaboration (CILC) has curated a list of live, interactive field trips that educators can access to enrich discussions around the Native American experience, which includes their forced removal from tribal lands. Among them are explorations of Indigenous agriculture, craftsmanship, tribal sovereignty,
architecture, and contributions to World War II.
The Ancestral Sonoran Desert People from Casa Grande Ruins National Monument (FREE) First Farmers: Indigenous Agriculture of the Americas from Manitoba Museum Follow the Buffalo from Homestead National Historical Park (FREE)
4. People of the Earthlodge; Lifeways of the Hidatsa from Knife River Indian Villages National Historic Site (FREE)
  1. Finding the “Real” Pocahontas from HistoryConnects from the Virginia Museum of History & Culture
  2. Traditions Shaped By Land and Sky from Explore Natural History: University of Nebraska State Museum
  3. American Indians: Cultures and Contributions from Booth Museum
  4. Continuing the Warrior Tradition: American Indians in WWII from The National WWII Museum
  5. Powhatan Indians an Eastern Woodland Tribe from Jamestown-Yorktown Foundation

10. First Peoples Gallery Tour from Royal BC Museum (Canada)

Teachers, school administrators, parents and childcare professionals are encouraged to browse CILC’s complete library of programs or register for a free membership.

About The Center for Interactive Learning and Collaboration

The Center for Interactive Learning and Collaboration (CILC) was founded in 1994 as a nonprofit organization with a mission to connect K-12 schools to national and international museums, zoos and other cultural organizations. CILC was developed for teachers to easily identify quality educational programs and interactive virtual experiences. To date CILC has nearly 200 content providers, which offer standards-driven authentic, live programs evaluated by teachers for teachers.

For more information about how cultural organizations are considered for CILC’s programming or to incorporate into a school’s curriculum, please visit our website.