Virgin Islands History and Cultural Resources

The Division of Virgin Islands Cultural Education facilitates the transmission of clear and concise knowledge of the history and culture of the Virgin Islands to the diverse students and adults of the Territory’s schools and neighborhoods, regardless of ethnicity. Enculturation and acculturation lead to greater respect for the Virgin Islands' way of life, by advancing the culture to achieve a more heterogeneous society.

Learn About

David Hamilton Jackson Month - "Do My People Do"

Nov. 23, 2021, 10:51 a.m.

David Hamilton Jackson
David Hamilton Jackson

Students have the opportunity to envision themselves as social justice warriors and to embody the spirit of Virgin Islands leader and activist David Hamilton Jackson through the Art for Activism project "I am David Hamilton Jackson."  

The Division of Virgin Islands Cultural Education of the Virgin Islands Department of Education and the Division of Library, Archives, and Museums of the Department of Planning and Natural Resources are inviting students to create works inspired by David Hamilton Jackson's activism. November has been designated as the official month to honor Jackson's lifetime achievements in advancing the right to freedom of the press, voting rights, higher wages, worker's rights, and organizing the territory's first labor union, which enabled him to campaign for human rights and gain greater self-governance in an era when racial inequality was intolerable for the vast majority of Black Virgin Islanders. 

Since the Project's announcement on David Hamilton Jackson Day, also known as Liberty Day, both agencies have held a virtual meeting, which was attended by over 170 students. Students may choose from a variety of mediums to create their symbolic works, which may include the following:  

  • Drawing a self-portrait or creating a mixed media artwork,  
  • A monologue or play via Tik Tok or another video app  
  • Digital art, animation, or photography  

The project teaches students about historical injustices and how to identify and act on contemporary issues affecting themselves, their local and global communities.  

A third creative session on the TEAMS app will take place at 4:00 p.m. on Tuesday, November 23rd, 2021. Invitations will be sent via VIDE's internal email system and to interested private schools.  

In Early December, the project will be exhibited virtually for the community to view. The deadline for this project is Tuesday, November 30th, 2021. Students may submit their work to their teachers, guidance counselors, or to the representatives of the coordinating agencies whose email addresses are listed below. or

2021 V.I. Government House D. Hamilton Jackson Day Ceremony





Nov. 23, 2021, 10:39 a.m.

National Native American Heritage Month during November celebrates the diverse and rich culture, history, and traditions of Native people. The observance is also a time to educate anyone and everyone about the different tribes, raise awareness about the struggles native people faced as well as in the present. American Indian pictures, words, names, and stories are a crucial part of American history and help mold our life today. 

HOW TO OBSERVE #NativeAmericanHeritageMonth

Use #NativeAmericanHeritageMonth to post on social media. Keep Native American Heritage alive this November, and for all the months to follow! Here are a few ways you can celebrate this month.

  1. Read a Native American history book, or a novel that dives into the history and traditions of native people. Movies like Pocahontas tend to sensationalize truth about Native American history, so reading a book will likely give you a more realistic vision.
  2. Play a game of lacrosse! Believe it or not, lacross was one variety of indigenous stickball games the American Indians played as early as the 12th century.
  3. There are a few movies made about Native Americans that aren’t as oversensationalized and are definitely worth a watch. Try Reel Injun, Smoke Signals, Bury my Heart at Wounded Knee, and Winter in the Blood. 
  4. Get in the kitchen and try a native recipe! There are tons of mouthwatering recipes from native soups, to roasted duck, or even pumpkin bread for a tasty fall treat.
  5. Finally, learn the true story about the very first thanksgiving. 


Library of Congress: 

National Endowment for the Humanities:


National Education Association

Lesson Plans

Student-Centered Digital Learning Activities
Check out these digital education tools, lesson plans, and resources available for free and downloadable from the National Indian Education Association.

Interdisciplinary Stories, Webinars, Films, and Lesson Plans
The Global Oneness Project offers a library of multimedia stories comprised of award-winning films, photo essays, and essays, many with companion curriculum and discussion guides.

Create Your Own Native American Board Game
Students in grades K-5 research and use basic elements of a selected Native American tribe to create an original board game.

Native Americans Today
Students in grades 3-5 compare prior knowledge of Native Americans with information gathered while reading about contemporary Native Americans.

Alaska Native Stories: Using Narrative to Introduce Expository Text
Students in grades 3-5 use traditional stories of Native peoples to begin a study of animals in Alaska.

Amplify the Voices of Contemporary Native Peoples in Your Classroom
Through Illuminative's artwork and lesson plans, students will learn about six contemporary Indigenous changemakers fighting against invisibility and their many important contributions to this country.

A Story of Survival: The Wampanoag and the English
A Thanksgiving Lesson Plan Booklet from a Native American Perspective (Oklahoma City Public Schools)

HISPANIC HERITAGE MONTH - September 15 - October 15

Sept. 8, 2021, 11:40 a.m.

Beginning on September 15, and continuing through to October 15, we recognize National Hispanic Heritage Month. During the four weeks, celebrations honor the heritage and contributions made by members of the Hispanic community. President Lyndon Johnson first declared Hispanic Heritage Week in September of 1968. Please view the resources from the Library of Congress and the National Endowment for the Humanities, National Gallery of Art, National Park Service, Smithsonian Institution, United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, and U.S. National Archives and Records Administration.


Hispanic Heritage Month Resources for Educators and Parents

National Hispanic Heritage Month is a period from September 15 to October 15 in the United States for recognizing the contributions and influence of Hispanic Americans to the history, culture, and achievements of the United States.



  • La Familia - K-5Even very young students know, and may occasionally use, words that are Spanish in origin—rodeo, tortilla, lasso, and macho, to name a few. And many are able to count from 1 to 10 in Spanish, due in large part to early exposure to the language provided by children's television programming. This sense of familiarity with Spanish, combined with the excellent language acquisition skills possessed by students in this age group, will help make this unit on Spanish culture an exciting but comfortable experience for your class. Students will learn about families in various Spanish cultures and gain a preliminary knowledge of the Spanish language, learning the Spanish names for various family members.


CBS News (7-12 grade band)

  • CBSN Originals | Fighting for Paradise: Puerto Rico’s Future
    In the midst of economic, political, and climate crises, Puerto Rico has lost nearly 12% of its population over the last decade, mostly to join the 6 million Puerto Rican diasporas now living in the 50 states. Tax incentives meant to lure investments have led some Puerto Ricans to fear that the island is turning into a fiscal paradise for wealthy outsiders, driving even more locals out. Many administrations have pushed for a more prosperous Puerto Rico, but they often blame the territorial status for falling short. Is statehood, independence, or something else the solution? And who gets to decide? CBSN Originals is our premium documentary series that is sure to challenge your views on this and a variety of other issues. See the full series library.


NPR (National Public Radio)

  • La Brega: Episode 1-7 (Available in both Spanish and English): WNYC Studios and Futuro Studios present "La Brega: Stories of the Puerto Rican Experience": a seven-part podcast series that uses narrative storytelling and investigative journalism to reflect and reveal how La Brega has defined so many aspects of life in Puerto Rico. Available in English and Spanish. Created by a collective of Puerto Rican journalists, producers, musicians and artists; presented by Alana Casanova-Burgess.


PBS (Public Broadcast System)

  • Latino Public Broadcasting Education Collection: This collection includes Lesson Plan (45), Video (30), Media Gallery (26), Document (13), Interactive Lesson (1), Interactive (1) for Grades 9-12, 6-8. Latino Public Broadcasting (LPB) is the leader in the development, production, acquisition, and distribution of film and digital cultural media that is representative of Latino people, or addresses issues of particular interest to Latino Americans. These programs are produced for dissemination to public broadcasting stations and other public media entities. Providing a voice for the diverse Latino community throughout the United States. LPB also partners with PBS Learning Media through the Latino Public Broadcasting Collection which offers educator guides, lesson plans, and other materials to engage students with the rich history of the Latino experience.


NEA (National Education Association)

  • Hispanic Heritage MonthCelebrate National Hispanic Heritage month with the following lessons, activities, videos, and more.


Smithsonian Center for Learning and Digital Access

  • Hispanic Heritage Month Resources
  • Young Portrait Explorers - Hispanic Heritage Month: Virtual workshop of children 3-6 and adult companions as we learn about art, history, and more. Register to explore these portraits in thirty-minute programs incorporating close looking at portraiture as well as movement and art-making. See the schedule.
    • Marisol Escobar Sept. 22
    • Pedro Martinez Sept. 29
    • Dolores Huerta and Cesar Chavez Oct.6
    • Carmen Herrera Oct 13
  • Homegrown Concert: Cambalache
    Wednesday, September 29
    12:30 pm – 1:00 pm EDT – Virgin Islands
    Cambalache, named for a Spanish word that means "exchange," is a Chicano-Jarocho group based in East Los Angeles. Cambalache plays and promotes traditional son jarocho through performance, music workshops, and educational demonstrations. 
    Link to concert
  • A Celebration of Children’s and YA Latin American and Latinx Literature at the Library of Congress
    Monday, October 11
    6:00 – 7:00 pm EDT – Virgin Island

    Join the Hispanic Reading Room at the Library of Congress and Consortium of Latin American Studies Programs (CLASP) in a virtual celebration of children’s and YA Latin American and Latinx literature. Hear from authors and illustrators amplifying stories and voices from across Latin American and Latinx communities. Panelists Angela Burke Kunkel, Aida Salazar, Raúl The Third, Sili Recio, and Yamile Saied Méndez will share their creative processes, discuss where they find inspiration, and how they address difficult themes about Latin American and Latinx experiences in their work for young readers. We invite families, educators, and students to take part in this unique celebration during Hispanic Heritage Month. 
    Register for the event


Learning for Justice

  • Celebrate National Hispanic Heritage Month
  • Unmaking “Hispanic”: Teaching the Creation of Hispanic Identity: “Hispanic” heritage includes a diverse range of cultures, nationalities, histories, and identities. Link to resource.
  • Honoring LGBTQ Voices During Hispanic Heritage Month: Too often, curricula and media position racial and sexual identities as either-ors. Hispanic Heritage Month is an opportunity to change that. Link to resource

Upcoming Observances: Virgin Islands Puerto Rico Friendship Day – Second Monday of October

Sept. 7, 2021, 1:03 p.m.

Virgin Islands – Puerto Rico Friendship Day is a public holiday celebrated in the Virgin Islands of the United States on the second Monday in October. Established in 1964 by Governor Paiewonsky, it honors Puerto Ricans who reside in or who have made substantial contributions to the Virgin Islands. The mainland of Puerto Rico lies approximately 40 miles from the US Virgin Islands with the Puerto Rican islands of Culebra and Vieques in between and many Puerto Ricans have lived in the Virgin Islands since at least the turn of the twentieth century. As of 2010, around 10% of the population of the United States Virgin Islands. The date was chosen to fall on the same day as Columbus Day.

A large migration of Puerto families settled in the Virgin Islands starting in the 1920s. Earlier, Puerto Rican intellectual, medical doctor, and independence advocate Ramón Emeterio Betances took refuge from political discourse on the islands of St. Thomas. Betances penned the famous proclamation, "Los Diez Mandamientos de Los hombre Libres" (The Ten Commandments of Free Men), in Saint Thomas while in exile in November 1867. The proclamation is directly based on the Declaration of the Rights of Man and the Citizen, adopted by France's National Assembly in 1789, which contained the principles that inspired the French Revolution.