12 months of Colorado American Indian history education

Colorado teachers tell us all the time that they want more opportunities to teach Colorado students about American Indian history. We love that we can tell them that we have plenty of ideas about how they can do that!

Here are twelve of them, one for each month of the year—because Native American heritage deserves to be recognized all year long.

  1. Visit our forthcoming Written on the Land exhibit at the History Colorado Center! We’ve consulted with tribal representatives for years to bring the stories of Colorado’s longest continuous residents to Denver. The stories in this unique exhibit are told from the Utes’ perspectives and in their own voices. Educators can get a sneak peek at this exciting exhibit on December 8, 2018! Watch the video to the left to learn more about the educational components of the exhibit.

  2. Explore our online exhibit Ute Tribal Paths. Our online exhibits bring Colorado history to life through historical images, videos, and interactive components. Students can even complete a series of online activities aligned to curriculum standards to earn digital badges!

  3. Students can also explore our online exhibit Colorado and the Fur Trade about Bent’s Fort and how tribes interacted with new settlers in the region. You can find resource guides and sets for this online exhibit and others here.

  4. Our online exhibit La Gente includes some background on Mesoamericans as part of Colorado’s Hispano history.

  5. You can also use our primary source set for the Ancestral Puebloans of southwestern Colorado to discover more about their culture, what happened to them, and why it’s important to preserve the places they left behind.

  6. Rocky Mountain PBS’ Colorado Experience documentaries on The Original Coloradans, Sand Creek Massacre, and Paleo-Indians are a way to learn more about these histories in depth.

  7. Read the biographies of Chief Little Raven and Owl Woman and other recommended books to learn more about notable native Coloradans such as Chipeta, Chief Ouray, and Chief Black Kettle.

  8. We highly recommend the Colorado Commission of Indian Affairs’ Ute resource guide developed in partnership with Colorado's Ute tribes, the Colorado Department of Education, and cultural institutions such as ours. Five units cover Ute history, daily lives, culture, identity, and politics, all aligned with Colorado’s academic standards.

  9. Students are sure to enjoy exploring this interactive map of native lands. There are 48 ancestral tribes in Colorado, all of which have their own unique story and culture to be discovered.

  10. Your class can rent our American Indian Grandmother Trunk, which includes 15 to 20 objects as well as suggested lessons and resources. Rent our Cliff Dwellers Artifact Kit to support students in “excavating” prehistoric artifacts buried in sand. 

  11. Do you know we facilitate hands-on programs at schools? In our Moving Day History Take-Out program, students use objects, photographs, and a large walk-on map of the state to explore the movement of people across Colorado from prehistory to 1870 including Ancestral Puebloans, Utes, and Plains Indians. This resource is best for preschool through fifth grade.

  12. Take a trip to the Ute Indian Museum in Montrose. Connecting the past with contemporary Ute life, exhibitions highlight significant places in Ute history and culture. The beautiful grounds include tipis, wickiups, and a native plants garden. Originally built in 1956 near the home of Chief Ouray and his wife, Chipeta, the site is listed in the National Register of Historic Places.