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A Thematic Learning Environment created by Tanner Dossey for Professor War's EDUC 5130 class at NMSU


Walking through native history

Click on a learning station's name to explore the activity Get started with the Interactive Guide on the first floor, or explore each station freely

Digital Scavenger Hunt

"Let's Play" - When Rivers Were Trails

Cultural Connections

By Mr. Dossey

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A Technology Story

Analyzing Culture Through Artifacts

Interactive Guide

Click on a learning station's name to explore the activity Get started with the Interactive Guide, or explore each station freely

Media Resource List

Explore the instructional display to the left and learn about the Indian Boarding School era in the United States. Click the right arrow to go to the next station, click the home button to return to the menu. Click the icon to enlarge the activity, click to return and navigate to other stations.

Interactive Guide

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Next Station

You will be paired with a student at the Santa Fe Indian school from your same grade level who has agreed to collaborate with our school. The pairs will be assigned by the teachers of each collaborating class and will have one arranged meeting by the teachers that takes place via video call during class time. At this time the pair will get to know eachother some and set a schedule for how they will meet outside of class going forward. Students must meet virtually with their assigned partner at least 3 times total with each meeting being at least 30 minutes, but there is no limit to how often or how long you can meet. Throughout the meetings, you will each be sharing aspects of your family history and general daily lives. For example, the story of how a family member or ancestor first arrived where the students currently live, what school is like, any cultural misconceptions, etc. Reflecting on what you have learned from the various discussions with your partner, you must answer the following questions:

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In Collaboration with students at SFIS

Cultural Connections

  • What are some things that both you and your partner had heard about eachother's culture that were incorrect or inaccurate?
  • How did you each correct those misconceptions?
  • How did your partner's family arrive at where they are now?
  • What is your favorite thing that you learned about your partner's culture?

Mr. Johnson is a middle school teacher with a passion for technology. He loves learning about new technology and methods of using it almost as much as they love learning more about their subject area. This has earned him a reputation with administrators as someone whose voice is valuable when making difficult decisions around technology. Their school has just received a very large surprise donation from a local tech business but there’s one catch, the company would like to use it as a tax write off this year. So it must be spent before the year’s end or they will give it to another school that can spend it fast enough. The principal is not very tech-savvy, but recognizing the opportunity would like to use all of the money on new technology for the school. They have come to trust the opinion of Mr. Johnson so much that they have asked if he could take the lead in choosing how to spend this money quickly so the chance is not missed. Immediately he started thinking of all the ways he’d wanted to modernize the classrooms for years and how it might now be possible. Later in the teacher's lounge he sees his longtime friend Ms. Ferguson, one of the special education teachers. They start talking and he tells her about the donation as well as what he'd been tasked with. She excitedly mentions how a lot of their assistive equipment is outdated and needs to be upgraded. Her and other teachers had applied for a grant hoping to cover some of the cost but it was awarded to someone else. Knowing that no one else knows about the donation yet, he asks her how much it will cost to upgrade everything. She tells him an amount that would take most of the donation.Now Mr. Johnson is conflicted, if he helps the Special Ed department get everything they need, there will not be much left for all the other teachers. But if he doesn’t, he will feel like he has betrayed both his friend and the students who are often neglected the most. He knows the principal will trust his judgement and follow his recommendation no matter what. Does he use the money to get himself and the other “core subject” teachers new tools to help their students? Or should he give it all to another department that could need it more?

A Technology Story

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For each example you post include: 1) If it is a Tradition/Ceremony, Music/Dance, Piece of Art 2) The tribe it comes from (or region if it can’t be attributed to one tribe) 3) A brief description of why it is culturally and/or historically significant to the people of that tribe or region 4) The name of the creator or artist 5) Where you found it (i.e. Youtube, Twitter, artist’s website, etc.) and a direct link to the original post

A tradition that is learned

A traditional piece of art

A food tradition




Digital Scavenger Hunt

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A traditional instrument or piece of music


Using social media sites like Youtube, Tiktok, or Twitter, find examples of traditions that are relevant to Native American history and culture. Then post your findings on the padlet accessed through the button, click it again to return. You must find 4 total artistic creations or activities consisting of the following types (hover your mouse over each card for more details):



Click the info buttons to access articles with a list of content creators to help get started, but any account can be used so long as they are an authentic and reliable source on that culture. (Meaning either a member of the tribe themselves and/or an educated expert who has experience with the culture)


Like a dance, a story, a skill, or a religious practice. Anything that takes time to learn and can be applied to create a specific object and/or experience.

This could be something like a poem, pottery, jewelry, or even clothing.

Such as a ceremonial food, feasting tradition, a type of meal (special or one eaten everyday), or even modern variations of traditional foods.

Any music piece used must be a true traditional excerpt and not just a snippet featured in another song. However if using an instrument as the example then the music may be from any era.

Download "When Rivers Were Trails" on a compatible device. Play through the game while recording your screen with any screen capturing software (if you do not know how to do this click the info button to access a tutorial on how to use OBS studio, click the Quickstart button for a guide on how to download the software, Click on the OBS icon to the left to download the software). You will then use this footage to create a "Let's Play" video about your experience with the game and what you learned from it. You could acheive this by recording your reactions live or addings your thoughts in later with an overdub. You have complete creative freedom over the video with a few general rules: No profanity (if it comes out in a live reaction you must cover it with a "bleep" or other audio effect), it must include a reflection section (minimum 2 minutes), be a minimum of 5 minutes and can be no longer than 10 minutes total. Upload your video to the class "Digital Museum" in Flipgrid under the appropriate topic.Click the Play button to access the game's download page, click the Share button to access the Flipgrid Museum.

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"Let's Play" - When Rivers Were Trails



+ Quickstart

+ Info

Showcase your understanding of how tribal cultures have maintained their heritage through homemade items that feature artistic creativity and what these items means to their heritage and New Mexico.

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Analyzing Culture Through Artifacts

  • Choose a Native American tribe from the 23 Federally Recognized Tribes in New Mexico.
  • Research the tribe of you choose using sources such as a local library, a museum, or the internet; click on the Zia symbol to get started, this page can direct you to the websites of each individual tribe.
  • Select an “artifact” of the tribe that you would like to recreate, it can be a toy, tool, piece of artwork or even a common household object from the time, so long as it has significance to the culture of your chosen tribe. Try and find something that features a lot of individual creativity like a piece of pottery, bead jewelry, or dolls (these are some examples but any artistic artifact will be acceptable).
  • Using tools and items that you have around your house or obtain, you will create your own version of this artifact in the same style of the tribe you have researched (if you do not have the materials needed to recreate the artifact in-person, make a digital version through tools like Adobe Illustrator or Gimp).
  • Think about how someone who grew up in the culture of your chosen tribe would interpret your creation, then come up with a brief description (3-4 sentences) explaining the significance of this item and any symbols, colors, or other design choices you made.
  • Post a picture or video of their artifact with a verbal or written description to a "Digital Museum" in Flipgrid and engage in an online discussion to ask questions or compare/contrast the different cultures of the tribes they have learned about. You must comment on the work of at least 3 classmates. Access Flipgrid using the button below, click it again to return.

Read more

Teaching Resource List











Topic: Native American History

Content Area: 8th Grade Social Studies

Crash Course US History #3 – The Natives and the English

Tribal Nations and The United States

Library of Congress: Living Nations, Living Words

Native Knowledge 360: American Indian Removal

Photographs from Indian Boarding Schools Collection

American Indian Boarding Schools: An Exploration of Global Ethnic & Cultural Cleansing

Native Knowledge 360: Native Words, Native Warriors

American Indian Treaties: Catalog Links

Iroquois History and Legends

When Rivers Were Trails

Additional Resources

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1) Crash Course US History #3 – The Natives and the English Medium: Video Availability: Free on Youtube Reference: Crash Course US History #3 Channel playlist - Crash Course US History Annotation: This video gives a quick overview of the early encounters between Native Americans and the English settlers colonizing the land. Evaluation: I like the style of John Green’s Crash Course series and think that they’re a really useful tool for providing students with a fast summary of most any topic in history. This video is a good introduction to relations between the English and Native tribes but the channel has many more videos covering Indigenous history in its US History playlist.

2) Tribal Nations and The United States Medium: Digital Book for print or online reading Availability: Free from the National Congress of American Indians Reference: https://www.ncai.org/tribalnations/introduction/Indian_Country_101.pdf Annotation: Book providing an introductory overview of the history of tribal nations and the United States Government with an emphasis on modern impacts. Evaluation: The book has many infographics and statistics on how Native tribes have been and continue to be impacted by their relationship with the federal government. Some of the topics go a little too in-depth or cover a subject my grade level would not spend time on. So I wouldn’t assign anyone to read the entire thing, but there is a lot of valuable statistical information compiled in one place and presented in an easy to understand way that can be pulled from it.

3) Library of Congress: Living Nations, Living Words Medium: Interactive Story Map Availability: Free to access on any web-enabled device Reference: https://www.loc.gov/ghe/cascade/index.html Annotation: Interactive map that displays biographical information on Indigenous poets from all over the United States along with a link to them reciting an original poem. Evaluation: This map helps expose students to Native art and shows the great diversity in First Nation cultures. I like that user has an option when using the map. They can scroll though and it will take them through each region and showcase an artist from that region. Or you can simply click on a location marker and learn about the artist from that location.

4) American Indian Treaties: Catalog Links Medium: Primary Sources – Digitized Written Documents Availability: Free to access on any web-enabled device Reference: https://www.archives.gov/research/native-americans/treaties/catalog-links Annotation: Collection of digital copies of the original treaties between the Native tribes of North America and the United States Government. Includes actual scanned photo and transcripts of each document making them more legible. Evaluation: While a vast majority of the documents available on this resource collection would not be used, it is a good repository for primary sources of tribal agreements with the United States. The deep well of information provides an opportunity for students to learn a deeper background in a lesson on any specific tribe’s history with the proper guidance. It is also a useful for reference when comparing the original agreements between tribes and the American government to their conditions today.

7) Photographs from Indian Boarding Schools Collection Medium: Digital Photo Archive Availability: Free to access on any web-enabled device Reference: http://www.hanksville.org/sand/intellect/gof.html Annotation: Collection of photos from the Indian Boarding School Era, many of which show the contrast between when the children arrived and when they were “assimilated”. Evaluation: This website is a valuable supplement to any lesson around the Indian Boarding School era. The pictures can be very powerful for students when accompanied with other knowledge about the goals behind the schools and their conditions.

8) American Indian Boarding Schools: An Exploration of Global Ethnic & Cultural Cleansing Medium: Digital Book for print or online reading from the Ziibiwing Center Availability: Can be accessed for free using a link, but in a class setting physical copies would ideally be provided for students Reference: http://www.sagchip.org/ziibiwing/planyourvisit/pdf/aibscurrguide.pdf Annotation: Booklet that covers the history of American Indian Boarding Schools in the United States. Evaluation: This book has a lot of detailed information on the Indigenous Boarding Schools operated both in the United States and Canada. It features infographics, pictures, and maps out the locations of all major schools that were open at one time. It also does a good job of drawing the connection between the treatment of Native people by the United States and that of the Jews under Nazi Germany.

9) Native Knowledge 360: Native Words, Native Warriors Medium: Interactive Online Lesson Availability: Free to access on any web-enabled device, best if used on a tablet or computer Reference: https://americanindian.si.edu/nk360/code-talkers/ Annotation: An Online Lesson from the Native Knowledge 360 project covering the history of Native American Code Talkers of WWI and WWII. Evaluation: This lesson covers the history of the Code Talkers During the World Wars. These soldiers were vital to American successes during the wars. First hand stories from former Code Talkers are featured so that one can learn more about what their job in the military was like and the importance it played.

resource 10: When rivers were trails Medium: Point-and-Click Interactive Game Availability: Free to download at itch.io from creator Elizabeth LaPensée, computer necessary to play the game Reference: https://indianlandtenure.itch.io/when-rivers-were-trails Annotation: This is an interactive story-telling game with a plot that begins during the forced assimilation laws passed in the 1890s. According to the creator’s page it follows “An Anishinaabeg in the 1890’s […] displaced from their traditional territory in Minnesota and heads west to California due to the impact of allotment acts on Indigenous communities, facing Indian Agents, meeting people from different nations, and hunting, fishing, and canoeing along the way as they balance their wellbeing.” Evaluation: What IWhen Rivers Were Trails itch.io Webpage like about this is that in addition to being very education and engaging, it actually plays like a real game too. While point-and-clicks may not be the most exciting thing to some, I always really enjoyed them growing up and feel like even those who don’t can appreciate learning through a more interactive method like this. In addition to the historical elements, it covers great themes like loss and survival in the face of adversity.

5) Native Knowledge 360: American Indian Removal Medium: Interactive Online Lesson Availability: Free to access on any web-enabled device, best if used on a tablet or computer Reference: https://americanindian.si.edu/nk360/removal/index.cshtml#titlePage Annotation: This is an online lesson featuring informational slides and videos. It also features maps and activities that allow students to dive deeper in to the topic. Evaluation: The Native Knowledge 360 project is a great learning resource for both students and educators. I like that it is engaging and has a mix of different kinds of activities. This particular lesson features the period of time in which there was the largest removal of American Indians by the United States Government.

6) Iroquois History and Legends Medium: Podcast Availability: Free to access on any web-enabled device at the podcasts website or with an account at any common podcasting service such as Spotify, Apple, Audible, etc. Reference: https://www.longhousepodcast.com/ Annotation: This podcast describes Iroquois history and legends starting from the beginning of the Iroquois Confederacy. Evaluation: The topic of Iroquois history is specifically relevant because the Iroquois confederacy had what could be considered the “first American Constitution” according to the hosts. There is also clear evidence that the Great Law of Peace between the nations of the confederacy influenced the original thirteen colonies into a single republic (PBS Native Voices: How the Iroquois Great Law of Peace Shaped U.S. Democracy). The hosts are not historians or experts, but are fairly well researched. They use primary sources to deep dive into learning about the topic and always cite them with each episode.

Additional resources General news site for recent Native news - Indianz.com Federal Indian Boarding Schools Map