Supporting Education

For decades, the Mohegan Tribe has been a resource for local schools and communities on Native American studies, offering free programs to in-state schools as well as online materials for all educators and homeschoolers through our new Educators Project.

Supporting Education

For over 20 years, the Tribe has developed and funded programs and activities to help support the educational system including the Mohegan Challenge Grant, Teacher of the Year celebrations, Educators Project, and in-reach and outreach programs.

Cultural Outreach & Educational Programs

Even before gaining federal recognition over 25 years ago, the Mohegan Tribe has been a resource for local schools and communities on Native American studies. Below are some of the larger initiatives currently available to schools and communities. To book any of the below, please contact [email protected].

The Mohegan Challenge Grant program was established in 2003 to invite elementary, middle school, and high school teachers throughout the state to submit applications describing their approach to developing a curriculum to address issues of Native American history, traditions, and culture, along with Tribal government and sovereignty. The winners receive grants of $1,000 each and are based on the applicant’s ability to provide the greatest use of all resources. Runners-up received a $500 grant this year. Funding provides educational and classroom materials, as well as a cultural exchange opportunity. Grant School recipients all receive a one-day instructional program with a visit to the school. Selected school groups are also given a complimentary field trip to the Mohegan Tribe’s Tantaquidgeon Museum, the nation’s oldest Native American-owned and operated museum, and have a chance to see first-hand the archives and artifacts that are a vital part of the Tribe’s history. Over 100 schools have participated over the two decades since its inception.

For more than a decade, the Mohegan Tribe has worked with the Teacher of the Year Council to host an annual gala at Mohegan Sun acknowledging all the finalists. The CT Teacher of the Year program celebrates excellence in teaching and recognizes the tireless efforts of these individuals who touch the lives of our children and instill a passion for learning.

As part of this program, The Teacher of the Year and their fellow nominees attend a celebratory reception and participate in workshops with members of the Mohegan Tribe who developed the Native American curriculum in conjunction with the State Department of Education.  Participants also attend educational sessions to develop program ideas and integrate Native American themes into the curriculum and tours that include the Tantaquidgeon Museum, the Mohegan Congregational Church, as well as other historical sites and cultural destinations in the area.

The Educators Project is a combination of new in-depth resources and interactive tools focused on Native American studies, all of which are available free of charge to any teacher or homeschooler. As part of the program, customized lesson plans are made available by grade level and are written to meet required educational standards. A secured website supplies educators with lesson plans, printable study and film guides, worksheets, and video assets to help aid in their efforts to bring Native American studies to the classroom. Units and lessons are designed to be tailored to meet the needs and educational standards of the respective classroom and are geared for grades K through 12.
The Mohegan Tribe’s educational outreach program takes Tribal members to schools and community centers. Interested groups can request speakers and performers for a free, one-hour program. The program may include a Tribal welcome ceremony, woodland flute performance, Indian artifact exhibits, storytelling, Mohegan history lecture, dance exhibitions with interactive dance participation, and a question-and-answer session.
Educational Outreach activities involve members of the Tribe’s Cultural and Community Programs department as well as other Tribal members who proudly share our Mohegan culture with a wider audience. Activities include teaching Mohegan history, storytelling, dance demonstrations, and bringing Mohegan culture to life via presentations of Tribal artifacts and their significance.
By sharing stories, songs, and dances that have been passed down from our ancestors, you’ll learn about our Tribe firsthand and experience how we pass on our Mohegan Traditions. Outreach programs bring Mohegan educators to schools, community and senior centers, camps, and local festivals.
A complimentary visit to the Mohegan Reservation led by Tantaquidgeon Museum and Cultural Programming team members. Areas of focus include visits to the Mohegan Congregational Church, the Tantaquidgeon Museum, and our recreation Mohegan Village.
  • Public venues: Visitors can experience Indian dancing, drumming, flute playing, singing, and storytelling at parades and fairs throughout Connecticut.
  • Welcome/Opening Ceremonies: Mohegan culture has been woven into the opening ceremonies for Mohegan Sun and other Tribal buildings and programs. Conventions held at Mohegan Sun can reserve a traditional opening ceremony for their events. The ceremony may include a welcoming ceremony, opening prayer and blessing, drumming and singing, and a flute performance.
  • Wigwam Festival: The major cultural event for the Tribe is the annual Wigwam Festival, held the third weekend in August. The event includes native dance exhibitions, Indian art exhibits, native craft vendors, traditional native food vendors, contemporary native performers, and old-style Pow Wow drumming.

The Mohegan Challenge Grant

Each year, the Tribe provides funding to Connecticut educators to develop a curriculum for expanding Native American studies.