Indigenous Peoples Gallery

Indigenous Peoples Heritage Month Gallery at Simley
Posted on 11/21/2022
Simley students learn about Indigenous arts and music at the Indigenous Peoples Heritage Month GalleryNovember 25 is U.S. National Native American Heritage Day, and November is National Native American Heritage Month, or Indigenous Peoples’ Heritage Month. To celebrate, Simley High School posted information around the school about Indigenous cultures, and on November 22, students attended an educational gallery. Inver Grove Heights Schools and South St. Paul Public Schools American Indian Liaison Chris Johnson and the ISD 199 American Indian Student Committee organized the gallery to teach Simley students and staff about their cultures ahead of the Thanksgiving holiday.

The gallery featured multiple stations that focused on the sports, regalia, dishes, art, literature, dance, and music of Indigenous Peoples. Ms. Johnson and student committee members welcomed students to the gallery with a land acknowledgement, or a statement respectfully acknowledging that the school district resides on the traditional lands of the Indigenous Dakota people. They also presented a short introduction that taught attendees Ojibwe and Dakota phrases and educated them about some common misunderstandings about Indigenous Peoples. The class was then released to watch a video of a Pow wow and browse artifacts from the Minnesota Historical Society and other vendors. Students were allowed to touch regalia, try instruments, read books, and eat popcorn at each of the stations to connect with their learning.

Ms. Johnson is working toward creating a database of easily accessible lessons for teachers about Indigenous cultures. Lessons will be aligned with state standards to encourage education about all of Minnesota’s Indigenous Peoples.

Thank you to Ms. Johnson and students who volunteered at the gallery for organizing the event and giving Simley students an opportunity to ask questions and learn!