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


The final institute of the Indigenous Peoples of the Americas teacher professional development program took place in the summer of 2014. Thank you to all who 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


Institute Description

The Yale Peabody Museum of Natural History hosted 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 was interdisciplinary, and teachers of all subject areas were encouraged to apply.


The 2014 summer institute focused 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 focused on the lives and experiences of the indigenous societies of the Caribbean and New England. Designed to enrich the 21st-century classroom, the Institute enhanced 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 featured:


  • 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 promoted object-based learning and primary-source study. All participants received guidance and support from the Teacher Advisor and outreach staff to prepare curricular materials.


Topics and presentations at the Institute were 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, introduced concepts and content tto promote 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.


Lessons and Curricula


CLICK HERE for lessons and curriculum units developed in conjunction with The Indigenous Atlantic summer institute, as well as the Maya Cultures Across Time (2012) and American Histories (2013) institutes.


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 2012-2014 Summer Institutes were 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