Event Type

AHA Online

AHA Topics

AHA Initiatives & Projects, K–12 Education, Research & Publications, Teaching & Learning


  • AHA Online

Event Description

On Tuesday, July 23, and Wednesday, July 24, 2024, the AHA will convene two free, online professional development programs for educators, including middle and high school teachers and 2- and 4-year college faculty. Each Teacher Institute includes 4.5 hours of programming, and a separate registration is required for each. The first, on July 23, will focus on material culture as a lens through which to explore the connections across continents, oceans, and regions that are central to the project of world history. The second, on July 24, will focus on how teachers at any level can center the perspectives and experiences of Native peoples throughout the entirety of US history.


Native Peoples and the Architecture of US History

“If our schools and university classrooms are to remain vital civic institutions, we must create richer and more truthful accounts of the American Republic’s origins, expansion, and current form. Studying and teaching America’s Indigenous truths reveal anew the varied meanings of America.” -Ned Blackhawk, The Rediscovery of America

When and how can teachers foreground the contributions of Native peoples to different eras in the history of North America? Where can classroom teachers find compelling sources and reliable educational resources around which to structure lessons? And what can students learn by better understanding the role of Native peoples in local, state, regional, and national history?

Historians continue to broaden and deepen our understanding of Native American history. Over three short sessions, this program aims to inform educators—including middle and high school teachers and 2- and 4-year college faculty—about content and sources suitable for use in introductory courses in US history. Presentations will weave together insights from recent AHA research about how teachers across the country teach US history, a presentation from featured historian Ned Blackhawk, and a roundtable discussion with museum educators and historians about where to find materials to enrich lessons focused on Native American history.



As of 2024, 18 states have passed legislation requiring public schools to incorporate Native American history into the secondary curriculum. Yet, many state standards and textbooks confine coverage of Native peoples to a handful of topics, often clustered in the colonial period and at moments of acute conflict.

Over the last two years, a research team at the AHA has conducted more than 200 interviews, surveyed thousands of teachers, and reviewed curricular materials from across the country to anchor debates about education policy in a more rigorous understanding of what is actually being taught in history classrooms across the country.

Educators identified Native American history, more than any other topic, as an aspect of the curriculum in which they would most appreciate guidance and support, and we’d like to use the resources of the AHA to meet this demand. We hear consistently from teachers that they are eager for opportunities to engage with historians and historical scholarship, especially in fields where they themselves may not have had any academic training.

Featured Historian

Dr. Ned Blackhawk (Western Shoshone) (Yale Univ.) is Howard R. Lamar Professor of History and American Studies. His many publications include The Rediscovery of America: Native Peoples and the Unmaking of U.S. History, which won the 2023 National Book Award in Nonfiction, and Violence Over the Land: Indians and Empires in the Early American West. In addition to his work as a scholar-educator, Professor Blackhawk has led the establishment of two fellowships, one for American Indian Students to attend the Western History Association’s annual conference, and the other for doctoral students working on American Indian Studies dissertations at Yale named after Henry Roe Cloud (Winnebago, Class of 1910).


Irene Kearns is a museum program specialist/digital program manager for the National Museum of the American Indian, where she contributes to the Native Knowledge 360° Education Initiative. She is a citizen of the Federated Indians of Graton Rancheria.

Dr. Meredith McCoy is an Assistant Professor in American Studies and History at Carleton College, where she teaches classes about Indigenous research methods and Indigenous education histories. She has previously worked as a public school teacher, a Policy Assistant at the White House Initiative on American Indian and Alaska Native Education, and an instructor at Turtle Mountain Community College and Freedom University.

As a Folklife Specialist with a passion for contemporary ghost lore, material culture of Indigenous artists and communities, and the intersection of folklore, history and science, Meg Nicholas Delaware) brings a background in historic preservation and museum interpretation to her work with the public programs and archives at the heart of the American Folklife Center’s public mission. Her work has been featured in the Journal of New York Folklife, in meetings of the International Museum Theater Alliance and American Folklore Society, and at the National Colonial Farm in Accokeek, MD. Prior to joining the Center she served as a government contractor, providing support to tribal offices in the U.S. Department of Energy, the U.S. Department of Education, and the Administration for Native Americans. Meg holds an MA in Interdisciplinary Studies(concentration in Public Sector Folklore) and a BA in history from George Mason University.

Dr. Sarah B. Shear is an Associate Professor of Social Studies and Multicultural Education at the University of Washington, Bothell. Her award-winning scholarship examines settler colonialism in K–12 social studies curriculum, teacher education, popular media, and qualitative research methods. As a member of the Turtle Island Social Studies Collective, Dr. Shear is committed to collective action to combat oppression in education.

Logistics and Programming

This AHA Learn Teacher Institute will provide 4.5 hours of online instruction and discussion divided into three 90-minute panels in Zoom on July 24, 2024, beginning at 12 p.m. ET. Any teachers or instructors who wish to use this program for professional development credit should register in advance and complete participant surveys after each session. The program is open at no cost to as many participants as choose to enroll. Participants are not required to attend all sessions.

Schedule of Events

12:00–1:30 — Where We Are: Native Peoples and the Contours of US History

  • An overview of recent AHA research documenting how states, districts, and teachers across the country are teaching Native American history, and an exploration of why terminology and language matter in the teaching of history/social studies in the K–12 and teacher education spaces.

2:00-3:15 — Toward a New American History

  • A presentation and discussion with Ned Blackhawk drawing on his award-winning book The Rediscovery of America and its implications for the middle and high school history curriculum.

3:30-5:00 — How We Get There: Sources and Resources for the History Classroom

  • A roundtable panel focused on educational resources and materials for use in the classroom, featuring educators from the National Museum of the American Indian, the Library of Congress, and the Newberry Library.

The AHA Teacher Institute will support veteran and new teachers who wish to offer their students a richer and more meaningful classroom experience. We will provide participants with a curated collection of readings and resources to help teachers implement some of the insights shared during the institute.

Separate registration is required for each Institute.