Amplifying Native Voices
The Native American Curriculum Initiative is an initiative of the BYU ARTS Partnership. The BYU ARTS Partnership's mission is to ensure that all children benefit from an education that provides for academic excellence, social confidence, and personal expression through experience with the arts.
In order to do this, we believe we need to expand notions of belonging in the classroom with more space for the voices on the margins. Teachers, school administrators, students, and their communities can grow together and contribute to a more equitable learning environment by exploring cultures, their own and others, through the arts.
Vision & Mission
Vision: Amplify Native voices in the classroom
Mission: Use principles of partnership to build bridges between Tribal Nations and educational communities within Utah. Create arts-integrated resources, model respectful collaboration, and provide experiences that inspire confidence in addressing cultural content in the classroom.
- Know your own culture.
- Assume goodwill and learn from mistakes.
- Ask with genuine intent and listen attentively.
- Accept "no" gracefully.
- Use accurate and original sources from the past and present
- Embrace partnership and reciprocity.
- Allow the time needed for authentic growth.
Tribal Partners in Utah
Crucial to this endeavor is establishing a collaborative partnership with tribal nations of Utah in the creation of lessons that align with tribal customs and traditions. The BYU Arts Partnership believes "the greatest impact for change will be accomplished through collaborative efforts involving teachers, schools, districts, departments, and universities," and in this case, tribal nations. Providing arts-integrated lesson plans, an artist roster, and other resources in partnership with and approved by tribes will add validity and another layer of confidence and support for teachers and children.
NACI Resources for the Classroom
Selecting Authentic and Accurate Materials
How do I know what to teach in my classroom?
Teachers are often stuck in the tension between their desire to include Native content in their classroom and their fear of doing it "wrong". They are looking at the resources they've used for years, asking themselves, "Do I want to continue using this resource in my classroom?"
During an era of education impacted by cancel culture, fear, and censorship, it may seem easier to avoid the topic of marginalized cultures altogether in the classroom. However, teachers dedicated to creating inclusive classrooms and honoring the identity of all children inside and outside of their classrooms are diving deeper to understand how they can include accurate and authentic cultural resources in their classrooms.
If you are looking for answers when deciding what resources to keep, add, or let go of, we have resources to support you! Join our online course or check out these blogs linked below.
Online NACI PD Course
NACI in the News