In 2017, the Oregon Legislature enacted Senate Bill (SB) 13, now known as Tribal History/Shared History. This law directs the Oregon Department of Education (ODE) to create K-12 Native American Curriculum for inclusion in Oregon public schools and provide professional development to educators. The law also directs the ODE to provide funds to each of Oregon’s nine federally recognized tribes to create individual place-based curriculum.
For years the state has been missing a critical opportunity to fully leverage the strengths, assets, and contributions our Native American students bring to their communities. The lack of accurate and complete curricula may contribute to the persistent achievement and opportunity gaps between Native American and other students.
In 2014, the ODE’s State Board adopted the Native American/Alaska Native Education State Plan. Objective 7 of the plan states, “Every school district in Oregon implements (K-12) historically accurate, culturally embedded, place-based, contemporary, and developmentally appropriate Native American / Alaska Native curriculum….”.
Native Americans lived in this state long before it became Oregon. How can we teach youth about Oregon history without including the voice of Oregon’s Native American peoples – both past and present? This general lack of knowledge about Native American people extends to curricula - thus SB 13: Tribal History / Shared History. Currently, ODE includes required teaching about Native Americans in ODE’s Social Studies State Standards. Tribal History / Shared History will create opportunities to expand those requirements across multiple content areas.