Authentic First Peoples Resources: Books for Use in K–7 Classrooms

This is a great resource that identifies more than 100 books, historical and contemporary, by and/or about First Peoples (the terminology used in Canada to refer to the indigenous peoples of the Americas who are neither Inuit or Métis). The books depict themes and issues that are important within First Nations cultures, and incorporate First Peoples storytelling techniques and features.  The list of books includes annotations on curriculum areas, themes/topics, suggested reading levels, and general descriptions, all of which make the Canadian-produced document a valuable resource for all North American educators who want culturally relevant texts for their American Indian/Native Alaska students. An appendix includes an evaluation form for additional texts, and while not comprehensive, the evaluation provides a starting point for discussions among educators who want to make curricular decisions as a group. The document is clear, laid out well, and very easy to read and use for the classroom teacher.

This publication provides annotated listings of “authentic First Peoples [print] texts” that are recommended for use in K–7 British Columbia (BC) schools. Many of the resources are small books that cover a broad variety of topics, including a special “Care for Me” series focusing on health and welfare. The listing of each resource provides titles, as well as reading levels, content areas, themes and topics, and tribal affiliations. This publication includes a resource evaluation guide to help school districts evaluate potential texts to include for Indian Education. It includes a “social considerations” page to help evaluate material that touches on a potentially sensitive topic, such as substance abuse or child endangerment. It is aligned with BC curriculum and learning standards. URL links to supporting materials are provided in some cases, but most of the resources themselves are available only through purchase from the publisher. URL links to publishers are provided.

Content Comments 

The content of this resource is excellent and could provide elementary school teachers with useful instructional tools, while simultaneously supporting reading skills. Although most of the resources draw from Canada’s indigenous tribes, some, such as “Beaver Steals Fire,” draw from U.S. Native American cultures. Communications quality, design, and readability are excellent. The authors provide a detailed description of the process used in selecting materials on this list, thus increasing its credibility and potentially its utility. The authors provide specific cautions and caveats for teachers when using these materials, further reinforcing the resources’ credibility. Evidence of impact on learning is not provided, but the quality and selection of resources suggest a reasonable support of learning, if not impact.