Did you know that National Indigenous Peoples Day takes place on the summer solstice, June 21? According to the government of Canada website, it’s a special occasion to learn more about the rich and diverse cultures, voices, experiences, and histories of First Nations, Inuit, and Métis peoples.
Teaching our students about Indigenous Peoples, places and experiences is a step forward on the path to reconciliation. That’s why today I am sharing 4 easy ideas for celebrating National Indigenous Peoples Day in the upper elementary classroom.
1) Read Alouds for National Indigenous Peoples Day
It is very important that students learn that Indigenous peoples are NOT monolithic. Meaning that they are not all the same. One way that we can help them to understand this concept is by exposing students to the stories of a variety of Indigenous peoples.
Here are some of my favourite stories about Indigenous peoples.
- Shi-shi-etko by Nicola I. Campbell
- Fry Bread by Kevin Noble Maillard
- The Orphan and the Polar Bear by Sakiasi Qaunaq
- Sweetest Kulu by Celina Kalluk
Do you want to grab all of the above read-alouds PLUS a ton of read alouds about Residential Schools? Check out THIS bundle to save a ton of money!
2) National Indigenous Day Printable Activities
Want some print-and-go activities for National Indigenous Day? Click HERE to have a FREE set of 3 no-prep activities sent straight to your inbox! Students will learn more about Indigenous symbols with the color by code, word search, and crossword puzzles that are included in this bundle. These worksheets are a great early finisher activity and would even make a great addition to a sub tub!
3) Rapid Research for Indigenous Peoples Day
Another one of my favourite activities for National Indigenous Peoples Day is to ask students to research an aspect of Indigenous cultures.
I suggest telling students that they have 20 minutes to read an article and write down 3 interesting facts about Indigenous Peoples. Then students can share what they learned in small groups.
Here are some kid-friendly articles from CBC for kids. You might want to assign each student an article so that an even number of students learn about each topic. Or you could allow students to choose. It’s your choice!
Also, if you have any early finishers, encourage them to research a second topic OR write a paragraph about what they learned about Indigenous cultures.
- Do you know what a powwow is?
- Why do we use the word “Indigenous”?
- Do you know what hoop dancing is?
- What is a land acknowledgment?
- Do you know what beading is?
- Have you ever heard a trickster tale?
- Do you know what an inukshuk is?
4) Game for National Indigenous Peoples Day
There are so many fun games that you can play for National Indigenous Peoples Day! One of my favourites is the Siturtaq because it requires no equipment!
Students start in a squatting position, facing each other in a circle. The dance involves kicking one leg out while maintaining the squat position with the other, alternating legs back and forth. When they hit the floor, they’re out. The dance ends when the last student hits the floor.
Some other fun games for National Indigenous Peoples Day include Lacrosse and Make the Stick Jump.
So there you have it, three easy ways to honour National Indigenous Peoples Day in the upper elementary classroom. Want to read more about teaching activities for Orange Shirt Day? Click HERE to read the post!