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California Indian Education



In partnership with the Chicken Ranch Tribe and Tuolumne Band of Me-Wuk Indians, and with support from Foothill Horizons Outdoor School, the Tuolumne County Superintendent of Schools Office is committed to educating local youth about the Me-Wuk of Tuolumne County. This initiative focuses on their history, cultural impact, resilience, and contributions, emphasizing a comprehensive understanding of California’s Indigenous Peoples within the educational framework.


Chicken Ranch Rancheria Me-Wuk Indians of California
The Tuolumne Band of Me-Wuk Indians
Foothill Horizons Outdoor School


Diana Harford
Deputy Superintendent, Educational Services


Indian Education For All

Empowering Teachers with Culturally Responsive Resources

The San Diego County Office of Education, the California Indian Museum and Cultural Center, and the California Indian Culture and Sovereignty Center partnered to create California Indian Education for All (CIEFA). CIEFA’s efforts are centered around helping teachers and schools educate students about the diverse contributions, histories, and cultures of California Native peoples. Teachers can access open source culturally responsive resources and place-based Native American Studies curricula that improve representations and classroom climates for teaching and learning about California’s first peoples.




Lending Library

The TCSOS Lending Library offers a selection of books on Indigenous cultures, including “Braiding Sweetgrass” and its young adult version, detailing the intertwining of Indigenous wisdom with science. The collection also covers the Navajo Code Talkers’ contributions during WWII, celebrates Indigenous Peoples’ Day, profiles influential Indigenous women, revisits the Plimoth Thanksgiving from a new angle, and features stories like “Two Bear Cubs,” a Miwok legend from Yosemite, enriching the narrative around Indigenous heritage.

Contact Diana Harford @ TCSOS with questions about borrowing the following titles.

Books &

Reading Lists

To help educators and parents choose high-quality Indigenous authored books, the SDCOE and CIEFA have designed this Native Ways of Knowing Book List: Decolonizing and Indigenizing Classrooms and Libraries. These books have been vetted by Native American scholars, CIEFA, and SDCOE staff. Please consider adding these insightful and vibrant Indigenous authored books to your school, classroom, or home library. Adding these books to your classroom will help teach young readers empathy, courage, resilience, sovereignty, and Native Ways of Knowing. These suggested Indigenous authors and illustrators utilize Indigenous storytelling and convey the breadth of Native cultures and sovereignty.



It is important to keep in mind that the Me-Wuk people are a living community who continue to carry their cultural beliefs and practices in the present day. If you are planning to teach a lesson or conduct an activity that may involve sacred or ceremonial elements, it is necessary to contact a tribal representative beforehand.

Native American Studies Model Curriculum

The Native American Studies Model Curriculum (NASMC) is defined as lesson plans, primary source documents, planning resources, teaching strategies, and professional development activities to assist educators in teaching about Native American Studies. The San Diego County Office of Education (SDCOE) and the Humboldt County Office of Education (HCOE) have been selected as lead agencies in the development of the NASMC. By design, the model curriculum will be developed in partnership with California Tribes, other county offices of education (COEs), and native youth serving organizations. NASMC is a statewide partnership effort funded through the California Department of Education.

Seven Essential Understandings for California Indian History and Culture

There is great diversity among the 150+ tribes of California in their languages, cultures, histories and governments. Each tribe has a distinct and unique cultural heritage that contributes to modern California.


Native Land Digital Map

Discover the rich tapestry of Indigenous lands, languages, and treaties with, an engaging digital resource that fosters understanding and recognition of Indigenous territories worldwide. This interactive tool invites users to explore and appreciate the profound connections between Indigenous peoples and their ancestral lands, promoting awareness and respect for their enduring heritage and cultures.

The map does not represent or intend to represent the official or legal boundaries of any Indigenous nations. To learn about definitive boundaries, contact the nations in question. 

California Indian Education For All (CIEFA) Resource Guide

The  2023-2024 American Indian Education Catalog provides an overview of SDCOE American Indian Education Projects, networking opportunities, and grants supported in collaboration with tribal leaders and educators. The professional learning opportunities offered in the catalog are explicitly designed to ensure local education agencies can establish, expand, and refine successful American Indian Education learning programs in collaboration with tribal governments, AI/AN studies and families, and tribal community members.

CDE Model Curriculum Projects

Model curriculum projects are initiated in response to specific legislation calling for a state-developed curriculum in a specified topic or disciplinary area of study. Typically these projects are done under the supervision of the State Board of Education (SBE) or the Instructional Quality Commission.

California Indian Education For All (CIEFA) Classroom Resources By Topic

The “Classroom Resources” page on the California Indian Education for All website offers a variety of educational materials designed to enhance teaching and learning about California’s Indigenous cultures. These resources are aimed at providing accurate, respectful, and engaging content to promote a deeper understanding of Native American histories, contributions, and perspectives within an educational setting.




California Indian Museum and Cultural Center

The California Indian Museum and Cultural Center was founded in 1996 with the purpose of educating the public about the history, culture, and contemporary life of California Indians and to honor their contributions to civilization.

The Museum provides California Indians and the public with a first class museum facility in which to portray California Indian history and culture from an Indian perspective. In addition, the museum showcases and encourages the present-day renaissance of California Indian culture, affirming its survival and continued vitality in the face of extreme adversity. Finally, the museum provides opportunities for Native Americans to receive training and experience in a variety of fields such as museum direction, curation, design, and interpretation.

Traditional Ecological Knowledge (TEK)

TEK refers to knowledge, beliefs, value systems, and practices in Indigenous communities that relate to the environment. For many Indigenous peoples, TEK is “active” (how one relates to the environment) and is sometimes referred to as a “way of life.” TEK is a branch of Indigenous science.

The lessons are a series of readings and discussions and a hands-on activity. They are aimed at upper elementary and early middle school and fit the NGSS standard 5-ESS3-1 Earth and Human Activity Obtain. They combine information about how individual communities use science ideas to protect the Earth’s resources and environment.


The California Indian History Curriculum Coalition

College Of Education, Sacramento State

The California Indian History Curriculum Coalition (CIHCC) is a group of educators, tribal scholars, and native activists who promote the creation, adoption, and implementation of California Indian-vetted curricula.

The resources on this page support our commitment to public/private school educators focused on infusing a California Indian voice into the content of what our children learn in school. Please use the Curricula & Lesson Plans provided below, organized by tribal identity.

East Bay Park District: Ohlone Curriculum with Bay Miwok Content and Introduction to Delta Yokuts (3rd grade)

East Bay Regional Park District is pleased to present the 2015 second edition of this third-grade curriculum about local tribal peoples past to present by District Cultural Services Coordinator Beverly R. Ortiz. The curriculum aligns with third grade History-Social Science Content Standards and addresses the following Common Core Standards: reading, writing, speaking and listening, and language. Its Supplemental Resources section includes a list of related fourth and fifth grade social science standards.

Largely based on primary documents, some never published, the student content includes photos and quotes of more than 50 Ohlone, Bay Miwok, and Delta Yokuts of all ages.

Parks Online Resource for Teachers and Students (PORTS)

PORTS stands for Parks Online Resources for Teachers and Students. We bring your California State Parks into your classroom, digitally. Over 55 of parks in all corners of the state, we have the (free!) resources for you! Nature, Science, History, Culture. You name it, we got it.

  • Santa Cruz Mission State Historic Park: Ohlone Lifeways and Santa Cruz Mission (grades 3-12)
  • Indigenous Culture Sharing on the North Coast at Chah-pekw”O-Ket’-oh Visitor Center (grades 6-12)
  • All About Acorns: A California Staple (grades K-8)
  • “We are Water Protectors” Story Time! (grades K-3)



Advocacy & Water Protection in Native California Curriculum (high school) Salmonids in the Classroom Project

Developed from the 2020 Summer Speaker Series & Certification Program in
collaboration with Save California Salmon, Humboldt State University Department of
Native American Studies, Klamath/Trinity Unified School District Indian Education
Program, Pathmakers Progam at Humboldt County Office of Education/Blue Lake Rancheria, Yurok Tribe’s Visitor Center.


The Three Sisters

This lesson teaches students about Indigenous permaculture, an approach to agricultural design that includes whole systems thinking and considers the co-habitation of plant, animal, and human beings. It also teaches students how to apply traditional ecological knowledge (TEK) when growing and living amongst corn, beans, and squash, also known as “the three sisters.”



Orange Shirt Day: September 30th

Orange Shirt Day is a significant event that commemorates the resilience of Indigenous communities in Canada, especially the children who were affected by residential schools. It promotes awareness and education about the history and legacies of these institutions, advocating for reconciliation and healing. The day is marked by wearing orange shirts as a symbol of the stripping away of culture, freedom, and self-esteem experienced by Indigenous children over generations.


Indigenous People’s Day

2nd Monday of October

The following resources will support educators in providing access for culturally relevant and respectful learning experiences in the classroom. Utilize these resources in the continuous journey to decolonize classrooms by creating spaces that are inclusive, respectful, and honor Indigenous Peoples.


Native American History Month


Native American History Month is a time dedicated to recognizing the rich histories, diverse cultures, and significant contributions of Native peoples in the United States. It serves as an opportunity for education, reflection, and celebration of the myriad traditions and achievements of Indigenous communities nationwide, fostering greater understanding and respect for their heritage and ongoing influence in American society.


4th Thursday of November

Thanksgiving is traditionally celebrated as a day of giving thanks for the blessing of the harvest and the preceding year. It is a time for gathering with family and friends to share a meal and express gratitude. However, it is also important to acknowledge the complex history associated with Thanksgiving, including the impact on Indigenous peoples and cultures in North America. This awareness promotes a more inclusive and respectful celebration that honors the diverse histories and contributions of all communities.



To support the use of Bioneers’ original content in the classroom, we’ve developed thematic discussion guides and curriculum bundles aligned with national standards for grades 9-12+. Each bundle includes teacher instructions, activities, assessments, and additional materials for a week of instruction around a set of themes. All lesson plan objectives and activities are aligned with high school standards for science, social studies/history, and English.