North County Outlook - Community newspaper serving Marysville, Arlington, Tulalip, Smokey Point, Lakewood

Celebrating Native American Heritage Month

 


The City of Marysville, Marysville School District, and the Tulalip Tribes are proud to present our monthly joint column. This month we are celebrating Native American Heritage Month by acknowledging the value of the Since Time Immemorial (STI) curriculum, which has been implemented in Washington public schools this past year.

The Tulalip Tribes

Submitted by Francesca Hillery

Tulalip Tribes Office of Public Affairs

The Tulalip Tribes invite our friends and neighbors to reflect with us on our history here in North Snohomish County, and to celebrate the fact that the rich and textured traditions of Coast Salish culture continue to shape our community and the region.

In 2015 the Washington State legislature passed SB5433 that required public schools to integrate tribal history, culture and government into the general curriculum. Since Time Immemorial the tribal sovereignty curriculum was developed by the Office of Superintendent of Education (OSPI) along with the 29 Treaty Tribes of Washington.

We believe a general curriculum that includes tribal history, culture and government will make a fundamental difference in how our tribal children and youth experience the public school system. We work in partnership with the Marysville School District to increase Native American graduation rates and engagement. The Since Time Immemorial curriculum now represents an important tool to meet these goals.

We also believe that non-tribal children and youth will benefit. To have the opportunity to engage with our history, culture and government will necessarily grow their perspective on tribal sovereignty and will help lay the groundwork for strong relations between our communities in the future.

Tulalip Tribes Chairman, Mel Sheldon, has spoken of the importance of the Since Time Immemorial curriculum and is encouraged by the work that has been done this past year to implement it. “We raise our hands to Senator John McCoy who, along with many other dedicated individuals, worked for years to make this a reality. This is an important step forward for our communities and the State of Washington.”

Senator McCoy sponsored the original legislation, HB1495, while serving as a state representative in the Washington House of Representatives. The difference with HB1495 is that it simply encouraged school districts to adopt the tribal sovereignty curriculum. SB5433 made it mandatory.

“The children of Washington now have the opportunity to learn how tribes governed and provided economic development for themselves.  With this knowledge, we are confident that all children can be proud of the contributions tribes have, and continue to make, to the Pacific Northwest."

Michael Vendiola, director of Indian Education at OSPI, explains the importance of the tribal sovereignty curriculum to tribal children and youth. “It leads to is pride, empowerment, greater awareness, and the ability to feel confident in the public school system.”

Currently, we are in the process of developing additional curriculum that is focused on the history, culture and government of the Tulalip Tribes and will share this with surrounding school districts.

Marysville School District

Submitted by Emily Wicks

Marysville School District

The Marysville School District believes it is important to not only honor Native American History during the month of November, but throughout the year.  In November of 2014, the Marysville School Board of Directors took the historic action of officially adopting the “Since Time Immemorial” (STI) Tribal Sovereignty Curriculum so that all students learn about the history, culture, government, and experiences of their Native American peers and neighbors.

As a community, we are lucky to have tribal members and others who have had the strength to stand up and ensure tribal history and culture is recognized, shared and preserved. Our community, our school district, and our local leaders must also take on this charge and do what is necessary for our entire community to understand where we have been, where we are today, and where we are going.

The adoption of the STI curriculum seeks to remedy a grave omission by our educational system. American history begins with the story of indigenous peoples in all parts of the land. Yet for decades our curriculum has made this rich and important heritage and culture virtually invisible. The lack of awareness of the Tribal legacy in our Marysville-Tulalip community is especially glaring given the presence of the Tulalip Tribes within our district boundaries. Teaching the STI curriculum to all students in our schools is a matter of basic justice for all, especially for those who were made to feel ashamed of their identity and culture for far too long.

To learn more about the Since Time Immemorial curriculum, please visit http://www.indian-ed.org and http://www.k12.wa.us/IndianEd/TribalSovereignty/default.aspx

City of Marysville

Submitted by Connie Mennie

City of Marysville

At the City of Marysville, we believe the strength and beauty of this community largely draw from the wide variety of cultures represented by our residents. In 2010, Mayor Jon Nehring established the Marysville Diversity Advisory Committee to identify issues and prioritize diversity and inclusion to ensure that the diverse character of the city is represented in decision-making processes. Committee members reflect the racial, ethnic and socioeconomic diversity of the Marysville-Tulalip area, ranging from front-line employees who regularly work with people from varied ethnic backgrounds to highly educated professionals in the fields of multi-cultural and gender equity. The committee meets quarterly and recently released its latest two-year work plan. Learn more at http://www.marysvillewa.gov/192/Diversity-Advisory-Committee

 

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