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AZ Education Department hosts Indigenous author panel to kick off Native American Heritage Month

The Arizona Department of Education hosted a panel of Indigenous authors on Tuesday, Nov. 1. The Office of Indian Education gathered the authors for a discussion to kick off Native American Heritage Month.

They talked about the importance of Native American representation in young adult and children's books.

Brian Young is an enrolled member of the Navajo Nation who writes stories for young adults. His book "Healer of the Water Monster" is intended to educate readers about Navajo science, as the main character compares modern techniques for growing corn to how his ancestors grew it.

“That was one thing that I really hope educators start to highlight more in their conversations is that we have meaningful contributions to the natural sciences, to emotional sciences, [and] to environmental sciences," Young said.

The panelists hope that by reading more from Indigenous authors, students will grow up with more accurate and less stereotypical understandings of Native Americans and their culture. 

Senior field correspondent Bridget Dowd has a bachelor’s degree from Arizona State University’s Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication.