Native American Curriculum Initiative

Amplifying Native Voices in the classroom, building bridges between Native and educational communities

Join us in celebrating Native American Heritage Month!

We have 38 lessons that can be used throughout November and through the school year to amplify Native voices and understand Native perspectives across the schools' curriculum. 

Bring an artist to visit your school or classroom! Select one from the Utah Division of Arts and Museums Native American Teaching Artist Roster. 

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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 Native 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.


Guiding Principles

  • 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.

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NACI Resources for the Classroom

Projects and Partnerships

Find more on our YouTube channel by clicking here.


Bear River Massacre Commemoration Ceremony


Bear River Massacre Commemoration Ceremony

Watch Video Here

Rupert Steele performs the Flag Song


Recording Knowledge Keepers and Culture Bearers

Watch Video Here

Man dancing in Native American clothing


Arts Express 2022

Watch Video Here

Ask Brenda Video Series Thumbnail


"Ask Brenda" Video Series

Watch Video Here

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Recordings of Paiute Lesson Plans in Cedar City

Watch Video Here

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Remembering the 8 Sovereign Groups and 5 Tribes of Utah

Watch Video Here

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

Want to learn more? 

Consider registering for our new 1-credit online course "Amplifying Native Voices in the Classroom" to learn HOW to implement our tribe-approved arts-integrated lesson plans and select culturally appropriate resources for your classroom.

Click here to register and learn more about our online PD course.



NACI in the News



Bear River Massacre Memorial

The Salt Lake Tribune: Reclaiming the Bear River narrative by Brenda Beyal and Heather Sundahl


Two native women standing in a field

Deseret News: Meet 3 little-known Utah women who've changed our state for good by Brenda Beyal and Heather Sundahl


Navajo Code Talkers

Desert News: Navajo code talkers should be remembered for more than just WWII by Brenda Beyal and Heather Sundahl

Top of Mind Podcast

Top of Mind Podcast: Brenda Beyal was interviewed on the Top of Mind podcast with Julie Rose. Learn how Native American communities are reclaiming their narrative. 

beauty of the way

Walk in the Beauty of the Way: This lesson was highlighted by KUER News, Nebo School District, and National Native News. Read more about how students used music to make personal connections.

Fry Bread

KSL News: Brenda, Emily, and their team brought more than fry bread to these students. Read more about how students made personal and meaningful connections to their own lives through Native pedagogy. 


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"Let us put our minds together and see what life we can make for our children"

-Sitting Bull (1831-1890)

Hunkpapa Lakota