Type of Work

Research Paper - Limited Access

Publication Date



In addressing the question of what American Indian history and culture is taught in Central New York public elementary and middle schools, this qualitative, mixed-methods study explores a) how the representation of American Indians in New York State standards and curricula has changed over time and b) the extent to which these themes and changes are reflected in the current teaching of educators, considering factors that may affect their teaching about American Indians. Content analysis of former and current New York State curricular materials for Kindergarten, 4th and 7th grade and an analysis of questionnaires given to teachers of these grades illuminated the following key findings: the current curriculum has changed to include more tribal specific information about American Indians, the current curriculum includes more American Indian perspectives and sources, the curriculum has made some marked improvements in presenting Indians as continuing to exist and thrive today, especially in relation to their culture; however, American Indian history continues to be relegated to the 19th century. The elementary-grade-level curriculum was found to avoid any criticism or discussion of settler colonialism, despite it fundamentally affecting the history of American Indians. Recommendations for moving the teaching and curriculum further in the direction of an education for social justice are offered.

Hamilton Areas of Study


Hamilton Sponsoring Organization

Levitt Public Affairs Center

Hamilton Scholarship Series

Levitt Summer Research Fellowship

Hamilton Faculty Advisor

Meredith Madden