American history is often sanitized and a rhetoric of expansion and progress is slapped over the injustices and crimes committed against Native Americans. Even when teachers want to challenge the historical narrative that they may have grown up with, they may not feel confident in their own knowledge or even know where to start when teaching about Native American history. Many secondary school teachers rely heavily on textbooks to structure their classes. Yet, these textbooks often perpetuate misconceptions of Native American peoples in history. The question the Native Histories Project is attempting to address is:
How do we empower secondary school teachers to teach Native history as American history?
Professor Deborah Michaels in the Education Department has been working with Grinnell college students and the Meskwaki community to create teaching material to help answer this question. Sydney Hamamoto is the Vivero fellow working to create an Omeka website for widespread dissemination of these teaching resources.