2014 Indigenous Peoples of the Americas Teacher Institute
Ezra Stiles' Map of the Niantic Shoreline, 1768 (detail); Credit: Beinecke Rare Book & Manuscript Library, Yale University
Wickerwork basket, Cherokee; Yale Peabody Museum Collections
Large stone yoke for ball game, Taino; Yale Peabody Museum Collections

The Indigenous Atlantic:

Encounters, Exchanges, and Endurance

June 30 - July 3, 2014


Thank you to all that attended, CLICK HERE to learn more about the institute!


Location: Yale University, New Haven, CT

Peabody Museum – 170 Whitney Avenue

Yale West Campus – West Haven, CT



Monday, June 30: Institute begins that evening

Tuesday and Wednesday, July 1 & 2: 8:30AM - 5:00PM

Thursday, July 3: Institute concludes at midday


Institute Description

Yale University’s Peabody Museum of Natural History will host a summer institute about indigenous histories and cultures of the Americas designed to help educators enhance curricula and access primary source documents—including items from the museum collection.  The institute is interdisciplinary, and teachers of all subject areas are encouraged to apply.


The 2014 summer institute will focus on the indigenous peoples of the Atlantic: their ENCOUNTERS with Europeans and Africans; the resulting EXCHANGES of cultures, ideas, foods, and technologies; and the ENDURANCE of indigenous peoples to the present day. Drawing upon the abundant resources of Yale University’s museums, libraries, and faculty, the institute will focus on the lives and experiences of the indigenous societies of the Caribbean and New England. Designed to enrich the 21st-century classroom, the Institute will enhance teaching resources and expand students’ knowledge through the integration of national and state curriculum standards such as the National Council for the Social Studies, the Common Core, and C3.   


The Institute features:


  • Participation in seminars led by world-class scholars, including Yale faculty;
  • In-depth discussions about Native peoples, their diversity, resilience and adaptation following the arrival of Europeans to the Americas;
  • Introduction of practical tools to assist teachers in developing innovative content, approaches, and resources for effective classroom teaching.


The Institute promotes object-based learning and primary-source study. All participants will receive guidance and support from the Teacher Advisor and outreach staff to prepare curricular materials.


Topics and presentations at the Institute will be relevant to social studies and language arts standards relating to culture; identity; geography; governance and diplomacy; and adaptation to environmental, economic, and social change. Speakers from various academic disciplines, including history, anthropology, art history, and comparative literature, will introduce concepts and content that will be useful in promoting evidence-based learning and analysis, critical thinking skills, and understanding of global connections and interdependence.




  • To present the best and latest scholarship on indigenous cultures of the Americas;
  • To help educators integrate current perspectives on indigenous peoples to their students;
  •  To provide educators with opportunities to develop effective, original curricular materials;
  • To enable educators to strengthen the global aspect of their curriculum;
  • To connect educators with scholars who are experts in their fields.


Who Can Apply

The Institute is interdisciplinary and is designed to appeal to high school teachers of various subjects, including—but not limited to—social studies, history, modern languages, and art. While this institute is open to teachers from across the country, please note that only limited funds for travel reimbursement are available.


How to Apply

CLICK HERE to access the on-line application. Applications are accepted on a rolling basis until the institute is full.  


Institute Requirements

The following is required of all Institute participants:

  • Actively participate in all sessions of the Summer Institute;
  • Develop or implement curricular materials (or other educational activities) based on content from the Summer Institute and assess the impact and effectiveness of the materials.


Expenses and Stipend

The registration fee for the summer institute is $100. Besides the registration fee, there are no charges for the Institute.  Personal expenses may include roundtrip travel to New Haven, housing, some meals, and ground transportation.


Thanks to generous funding from the Arthur Davis Vining Foundations, teachers will be awarded $200 after completion of the summer institute, consisting of a refund of the registration fee plus a $100 stipend. Teachers who fulfill the Institute’s curricular and assessment requirements (see above) will be awarded an additional $300 stipend at the end of the following school year.



Staff Bios


Anya Montiel, Institute Coordinator

Anya Montiel is a doctoral student in American Studies at Yale University. She received Bachelor’s degrees in Anthropology and Native American Studies from the University of California at Davis. She holds a Master’s degree in museum studies from John F. Kennedy University in Berkeley, CA, where she wrote her thesis on Native American museums and cultural centers. She has worked in the museum field for more than ten years, including seven years at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of the American Indian (NMAI). While at the NMAI, Anya worked in the collections management, education, public programming, and curatorial departments, including the development of the 2004 inaugural exhibition, Native Modernism: The Art of George Morrison and Allan Houser, and Continuum: 12 Artists for the museum’s New York location. Anya has been a writer for the Smithsonian’s American Indian magazine since 2002 where she writes about contemporary Native American life, peoples, and art.


Elise Weisenbach, Teacher Advisor

Elise Weisenbach received her B.A. and M.A. in Latin American Studies from Tulane University with concentrations in anthropology and history. She has studied in Mexico, Guatemala, and Colombia and has traveled extensively in Latin America. She received a MAT from Quinnipiac University and currently teaches Spanish at Branford High School. She also has volunteered at the Yale University Peabody Museum of Natural History and participated in many CLAIS Outreach Programs. Mrs. Weisenbach was the Teacher Advisor for the 2012 Indigenous Peoples of the Americas: Maya Cultures Across Time institute and the 2013 American Histories institute, and is delighted to return as the Teacher Advisor for the 2014 Summer Institute.




The 2014 Summer Institute was made possible by generous support from the Arthur Vining Davis Foundations.


For more information, contact:

Tom Parlapiano, Institute Coordinator

(203) 737-3065 or thomas.parlapiano@yale.edu