How is Haudenosaunee history and culture taught in New York Schools?


Marissa Manitowabi

Marissa Manitowabi (Seneca), will present an interactive program titled, “Haudenosaunee Representation in Elementary Education: Precedents and Possibilities” at the Seneca Art & Culture Center, Ganondagan State Historic Site in Victor. The program will begin at 2 p.m. on Saturday, November 12.

Marissa will provide an overview of how elementary school educators in New York state have approached teaching about Haudenosaunee history and culture and will share some of the better pedagogical approaches for teaching about Indigenous peoples that have emerged over the past few decades.

A museum education professional, Marissa has a B.F.A. in Product Design from Parsons School of Design and an M.S. Ed. in Museum Education from Bank Street Graduate School. She has been using her dual training in arts and education over the past decade to study how Native peoples are represented in elementary schools in New York State and to create materials that inform the public about Haudenosaunee culture and history. Working in consultation with multiple Haudenosaunee community members and in collaboration with the American Museum of Natural History, the National Museum of the American Indian, The Seneca-Iroquois National Museum and others, Marissa has created curricula, visual materials, educational displays, hands-on activities, and programming to engage visitors and students while they learn. She is currently working with Ganondagan State Historic Site to create a database of K-12 materials about the Haudenosaunee that will provide teachers with the most accurate available materials, and which will inform future curricula creation.



The Seneca Arts & Culture Center “fulfills a vision of a permanent, year-round interpretive facility at Ganondagan telling the story of the Seneca and Haudenosaunee (Iroquois) contributions to art, culture and society for more than 2000 years to the present day.” It is located within Ganondagan State Historic Site, which is a New York State Historic Site and a National Historic Landmark.

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