Program to explore teaching about American Indians in the K-12 classroom

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. -- “Teaching about American Indians in Your K-12 Classroom: How to Select Children's Books and Talk about Native People” will be held from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. April 22 in 108 Chambers on Penn State’s University Park campus. This informative session for educators will be conducted by education specialist Susan Chavez Cameron and Vine Deloria Jr. Librarian Elayne Silversmith from the National Museum of the American Indian (NMAI).

This presentation will provide suggestions on how to select children's books and how to effectively teach about American Indians, and will be of interest to teachers, students majoring in elementary education and graduate students in education. The goal is to help educators consider the complexities of teaching about this topic and delivering sensitive and accurate information.

In addition to her work at NMAI, Cameron serves as adjunct faculty with Argosy University in Washington, D.C., teaching doctoral courses on multicultural counseling, advanced assessment and research. She has more than 25 years of experience in academe and has worked in Indian Country for more than 30 years as a licensed mental health counselor, registered nurse, hospital administrator and program evaluator. While with the Indian Health Service, she was recognized by the U.S. Surgeon General for her work on Quality New Mexico, a state-level initiative based on the Baldrige National Quality Program Criteria for Performance Excellence. 

Cameron has a doctorate from Purdue University in counselor education with specialization in multicultural counseling, an master of science degree from California State University, Fresno, in marriage, family and child counseling with specialization in Native American mental health, and a bachelor of science in nursing. 

Prior to working at the NMAI, Silversmith was a tenured librarian at Fort Lewis College in Durango, Colorado, where she managed the Robert W. Delaney Research Library at the Center of Southwest Studies. At Fort Lewis, she served two-terms as chair of the Native American and Indigenous Studies (NAIS) Advisory Board at Fort Lewis College and helped guide the NAIS to become an independent degree program. Silversmith has been an academic and special librarian for more than 18 years with experience in reference, collection development, outreach, programs, instruction and access services, and she has served American Indian tribal libraries throughout those years. She is a  past president of the American Indian Library Association. In 2011, she was a Native American Fellow at the Peabody Essex Museum (PEM) in Salem, Mass., where she developed and taught four docent workshops for the exhibition, “Shapeshifting: Transformation of Native American Art.” Born and raised on the Navajo Nation in Shiprock, N.M., she currently lives in Alexandria, Va.

The program is co-sponsored by the Interinstitutional Consortium for Indigenous Knowledge (ICIK), the American Indian Leadership Program and the University Libraries. If you need special accommodations or have questions about the physical access provided, contact Raymond Chappetta at or 215-806-2790. For more information on ICIK, see

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Last Updated January 09, 2015