For Educators

My name is Nicole Menard. I was born in Gordon, Nebraska and I am Oglala Lakota. It is with honor that I speak of my family who are from the Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota. Most of my immediate family now live in Denver, Colorado. 

I recently received a Master of Arts degree in American Indian Studies at the University of Arizona in Tucson, Arizona. I am an English teacher who is currently working with high school expelled students in the Lincoln Public Schools District. It is my life's passion to share my experiences and assist at-risk youth in achieving the gift of life long learning.

An Anglo family adopted me at birth, so I personally relate to many of the topics presented in Indian Country Diaries. I have used the following activities and lessons with my students over the years. I hope they will help other educators and students explore and understand Native American culture.

The documentaries in Indian Country Diaries raise issues that can help teachers meet multicultural educational standards in their classrooms. Nichole Bihr Menard (Oglala Lakota) from the Lincoln (NE) Public Schools wrote these lesson plans.

Each lesson plan listed here includes: learning objectives; relevant state and national standards; a list of necessary resources both on this web site and from other sources; suggested total time for the lesson; suggested grade level; a full teaching strategy; assessment recommendations; and extension ideas.

Assimilation

One of the keystones of U.S. government policy has always been the assimilation or absorption of Native cultures into the European culture. This lesson explores the imperfect process of assimilation and relates the process to the students' own sense of identity.

Sovereignty

Indian tribes are both sovereign nations and dependant on the federal government. This lesson examines how the tribes, states and federal governments are wrestling for power and how that struggle affects everyday life for Native Americans.

Culture

Native Americans have tenaciously held on to significant parts of their ancient tribal belief systems, ceremonies, practices and languages. This lesson explores the similarities and differences between the "American" culture and various tribal cultures.

Humor

In the midst of serious issues, Indians still like to have "serious fun." Humor and satire can actually help students understand the similarities and differences between diverse cultures.