MINNEAPOLIS—On the heels of the National Indian Education Association's conference held in Minneapolis earlier this fall and just in time for Native American Heritage Month (in November), the nearby Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Community announced a $5 million philanthropic campaign to fund resources, curriculum, and training on Native American heritage for teachers and administrators across Minnesota, according to the Star Tribune. "We're hoping we can move the needle in the narrative in Minnesota and be a model," Rebecca Crooks-Stratton, the secretary-treasurer for SMSC, told the newspaper.
A recent report by the National Congress of American Indians highlights the need for initiatives like SMSC's. Summarizing states' efforts to bring content about indigenous peoples and communities into K-12 classrooms across the country, the report found that 87% of state history standards include no mention of Native American history after 1900, and 27 states don't mention Native Americans in their K-12 curriculum.
However, 90% of states surveyed reported that they are working to improve the quality of and access to Native American education curriculum, and a majority of states indicated that Native American education is already included in their content standards, although far fewer require it be taught in public schools. Despite a dearth of requirements, educators don't have to wait for a state mandate to begin integrating Native American studies into their coursework, no matter their subject.
READ: States Move to Add Native American History to Education Curriculum | Best States | US News
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