TAHLEQUAH, Okla. - Cherokee Nation is working to help transform the way Native American history is presented in classrooms. The tribe is one of many contributing to the National Museum of the American Indian’s national education initiative, Native Knowledge 360 Degrees.
As part of the initiative, Cherokee Nation has provided comprehensive lessons in the online resource center that provide an authentic and accurate look at American Indian forced removal from the Cherokee perspective.
“It is an honor for Cherokee Nation to collaborate once again with a renowned institution like the National Museum of the American Indian,” said Cherokee Nation Principal Chief Chuck Hoskin Jr. “We applaud the efforts of the museum to educate a new generation of young people and provide them with a more comprehensive and accurate understanding of forced removal and the impact it has had on our country. Participating in NK360 is a wonderful opportunity to share the Cherokee story, our unique history and heritage, and showcase who we are in the 21st century.”
“The Trail of Tears: A Story of Cherokee Nation Removal” shares the story of the removal of the Cherokee people from their original homelands in the Southeast — Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina, Tennessee, Alabama and Kentucky. In particular, the digital lesson highlights the numerous strategic efforts of the tribe to avoid removal and the Cherokee people’s persistence in rebuilding their nation after ultimately being forced to move to Indian Territory, now Oklahoma, during the 1830s.
“They will learn about the resilience of the Cherokee people and see that we remain a vibrant and essential part of America’s tapestry,” Chief Hoskin said. “It’s an inspiring story, a truly American story, and sadly, it is getting lost in our country’s classrooms. It is our responsibility to ensure the true accounts of the Cherokee people are accurately documented and available for the public.”
The Cherokee curriculum and additional teacher and student resources comprise a new component to NK360’s educational module “American Indian Removal: What Does It Mean to Remove a People?” The module includes the removal stories of several other Native nations, supporting secondary education about the vast scope and impact of American Indian removal in the early 19th century.
“Native Knowledge 360 is aligned with the work of many Native nations, states and organizations that share a common goal of making American Indian education a priority,” said Kevin Gover, director of the National Museum of the American Indian. “Americans do not know enough about our shared history even to be properly offended at the lack of an inclusive narrative that illuminates the history of this continent in all of its complexity. By offering better materials to our educators about American Indians, we are looking to create a more empathetic and better educated citizenry.”
NK360 was created to provide educators with essential understandings about American Indians that serve as a framework for teaching about Native American history, cultures and contemporary lives. The initiative offers pre-K to post-secondary teacher training to build new skills, awareness of classroom resources and the confidence to improve their teaching.
For more information, please visit www.cherokee.org.