Happy November, and welcome to Greentrike’s monthly Playful Guide! This month is recognized as Native American Heritage Month, during which we can take the time to learn about the rich history and many accomplishments of the Indigenous Peoples of the United States.

Don’t forget to join us at any of our Play to Learn locations, where friends will have opportunities to ask all sorts of questions to our teachers!

Did you know?

There are 574 Federally recognized Native American tribes, each with their own culture, traditions, languages, and more!

Digital Community Projects

There are a number of projects that work to counteract stereotypes, showcase positive role models, and increase awareness around Native American heritage, culture, and community.

Project 562

One of these resources is Project 562, a national documentary project by Matika Wilbur, dedicated to showing contemporary photos of Indigenous Peoples, as well as documenting oral histories. In doing so, this project also works to create positive indigenous role models. To view Wilbur’s work, check out project562.com.

This project is great for addressing inaccurate and stereotypical images that may be presented by various forms of media, like movies, television, and even textbooks.

Native Land Digital

In an attempt to map out native land, scholars have created a community project that roughly estimates traditional territories, found at native-land.ca.

It is important to note that ideas of land and ownership differ depending on who we ask, so it is not easy or accurate to draw borders representing who “owns” that land. Instead, maps like these can be very useful in bringing awareness of the histories of Indigenous Peoples and their homelands. What can you and your family learn about the land that you live and play on?

Picture Books for Native American History Month

Below are some picture books that can help to enrich children’s understanding of heritage, identity, and acceptance. Consider checking them out from your local library!

We Are Water Protectors

We Are Water Protectors

by Carole Lindstrom

This beautiful and poetic picture book is inspired by the many Indigenous-led movements across North America. It issues an urgent rallying cry to safeguard the Earth’s water from harm and corruption.

Fry Bread

Fry Bread: A Native American Family Story

by Kevin Noble Maillard

Told in lively and powerful verse, Fry Bread is an evocative depiction of a modern Native American family. Your family can even try making your own fry bread using the recipes inside!

We All Play

We All Play

by Julie Flett

This book celebrates playtime and the connection between children and the natural world. At the end of the book, animals and children gently fall asleep after a fun day of playing outside, making this book a great bedtime story. At the end, readers can also find a glossary of Cree words for the animals found in the story, as well as a pronunciation guide and link to audio recordings!

When We Were Alone

When We Were Alone

by David A. Robertson and Julie Flett

A young girl notices things about her grandmother that make her curious. Why does her grandmother have long, braided hair and beautifully colored clothing? Why does she speak Cree and spend so much time with her family? As the girl asks questions, her grandmother shares her experiences in a residential school, when all of these things were taken away.

Further Reading

Looking for more books? The Tacoma Public Library, Puyallup Library, and Pierce County Libraries all have tons of picture book recommendations, many of which are available to be checked out and enjoyed!

Learn More in the Museum District

For the entire family, including older children, there are many exhibits at local museums featuring information about the Indigenous Peoples that make their home here. Check out our friends in the downtown Tacoma Museum District! Admission to each museum below will be free on November 16, as well as every third Thursday of the month.

Click on each image below to be directed to the museum’s website.

Foss Waterway Seaport

Puyallup People: First on the Waterways

Foss Waterway Seaport

The exhibit at the Foss Waterway Seaport Maritime Museum at 705 Dock St. highlights the life of the Puyallup People in the South Sound! Visitors can learn about canoe building, fishing techniques, resource utilization, diet, recreation, world view, contact with other tribes and later explorers, and more with exhibit content that has been developed in partnership with local members of the Puyallup Tribe. Enjoy free admission at the Foss Waterway Seaport from 4 – 8 p.m. on Third Thursday!

Great Hall of Washington History

Great Hall of Washington History

Washington State History Museum

Explore some of Washington State’s earliest history with exhibit content that includes a look at ancient artifacts such as Clovis Points, a variety of artifacts from Native cultures, first-person stories of migration and immigration, information about Washington’s geology, and more! The Washington State History Museum can be found at 1911 Pacific Ave, and admission will be free from 3 – 8 p.m. every Third Thursday of the month, including November 16.

On Native Land: Landscapes from the Haub Family Collection

On Native Land: Landscapes from the Haub Family Collection

Tacoma Art Museum

Check out the Tacoma Art Museum’s collection of stunning landscape paintings, each of which recognizes more than 75 different Native American communities whose homelands are pictured. The Tacoma Art Museum has both online and in-person resources where visitors can learn more about land acknowledgments and how these places from across the country are vital and important for these Native American communities. Enjoy free admission at the Tacoma Art Museum from 5 – 8 p.m. on Third Thursday, at 1701 Pacific Ave!


Below are some local organizations that families can support and learn about the Indigenous communities in our area!