Essential Understandings of Native Americans in Oregon

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Grade levels: All Grade Levels, Professional Development

Content areas: All Content Areas

Topics: SB 13, Tribal History/Shared History

Type of resource: Professional Development

The purpose of this document is to create the foundation necessary for the creation of the statewide Tribal History/Shared History curriculum for all schools across Oregon. It provides information to educators and students on the tribes in Oregon including their past and current presence, sovereignty, history, tribal governance, identity, lifeways, language, treaties with the United States, and genocide, federal policy and laws. Native Americans have lived in Oregon since time immemorial. It is impossible to understand Oregon or U.S. history, geography or government without having essential understandings of the rich culture and contributions of Native people in this state and nation. For decades, however, the state’s public-school curriculum has minimized, mischaracterized, or completely left out these vital contributions.

In an effort to provide an inclusive perspective, and as a result of the passing of Senate Bill 13 (2017), the Oregon Department of Education partnered with the nine federally recognized tribes in Oregon to develop the Essential Understandings of Native Americans in Oregon.

Each of the tribes appointed representatives to share their heart, expertise and knowledge in order to create concepts which will support educators as they teach information the tribes wanted all students to learn and understand as they engage with new teaching resources. The initial process began in early May 2018 and on June 14, 2019 the Tribal representatives agreed to move the document forward for final approval to their Tribal leadership.

This document is an historic investment in Oregon’s education system and the result of the holistic, collaborative effort of many in our state who know the value and importance of our students learning about tribes in Oregon and the history of this state. By teaching this curriculum and implementing these essential understandings, educators will be educating students on the accurate and authentic experiences of tribal peoples in Oregon. They will also be influencing tomorrow’s leaders and shaping a new future for Oregon and its relationship with our tribes.  

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