The Chickasaw Nation continues to share its unique culture, traditions and celebrated history with the release of the Chickasaw Heritage Series curriculum. The curriculum corresponds with Chickasaw Heritage Series documentaries and is designed to provide learning opportunities for elementary and secondary students, telling the story of the Chickasaw people through their own words and experiences.
“It’s great that the Chickasaw Nation is creating curriculum,” said Bernadette Ward of Tulsa’s Will Rogers College High and Junior High School. “Having lived in Oklahoma, and surrounded by so many different (Native American) nations, it’s important that people know about them. Students need to know where and how this state was created and where we came from. We are surrounded by great cultures; we have to hear from them.”
This grade-appropriate curriculum introduces students to documentaries produced by the Chickasaw Nation: “First Encounter;” “Pearl Carter Scott: On Top of the World;” “Bearer of the Morning: The Life of Te Ata Thompson Fisher;” as well as “The life of Montford Johnson, a renowned Chickasaw rancher.”
To kick off the introduction of the curriculum, educators from across Oklahoma participated in workshops in Ada, Norman and Duncan. Each attendee received a copy of the documentaries, lesson plans and all of the necessary resources to teach each lesson.
Lesson plans for each of the documentaries correlate to the Oklahoma Academic Standards for Social Studies, Oklahoma History, United States History and World History. Significant Chickasaw events impacted world history and historic sites in Oklahoma and beyond.
Citizen of the Absentee Shawnee Tribe and educator Teresa Parker of Edison Middle School, Tulsa, believes the curriculum gives a well-rounded version of historical events.
“We want to teach our children in a meaningful and appropriate way, instead of reading from outdated books written long ago, sometimes without the Native American perspective in mind,” Parker said. “This curriculum is making sure history is accurate from all perspectives.”
Chickasaw historians, researchers, archaeologists, tribal elders and other educators contributed to create a teaching plan that tells the story of the Chickasaw people. Each lesson focuses on a specific event or individual throughout the Chickasaw Nation’s history and is complete with its own lesson plan, reading material, discussion questions, student activity, student quiz and reference for convenience.
In addition to the documentaries and accompanying resources, the Chickasaw Nation offers additional curricula for elementary and secondary classes. The resources are aligned with the Oklahoma Academic Standards, as outlined in the Oklahoma State Department of Education’s 2014 social studies guide. Other standards could be based on a teacher’s own interpretation of the lesson material or ability/need to make a conceptual connection.