From Indian Country Today. SIOUX FALLS, S.D. — Teachers, educators and other South Dakota citizens charged with crafting new state social studies standards said Tuesday that Gov. Kristi Noem’s administration deleted many elements intended to bolster students’ understanding of Native American history and culture from their draft standards.
Members of the working group — appointed by the Department of Education to review and update the standards — said they were caught by surprise on Friday when the department released a document with significant changes. New standards are released every seven years. They said changes made to the draft they submitted in late July gave it a political edge they had tried to avoid, instead aligning with the Republican governor’s rhetoric on what she calls patriotic education.
The working group’s draft recommended including Native American culture from Oceti Sakowin stories in kindergarten to studying tribal banking systems in high school, but the department cut many of those recommendations.
“Here we are again; the Native population is not worthy of being taught,” said Sherry Johnson, the education director with the Sisseton Wahpeton Oyate and a member of the working group. “I feel it’s important for all students to learn. This is how you combat racism and you build resiliency.”
She joined the group after trying unsuccessfully for years to get the state government to implement a greater emphasis on Indigenous history and culture in public schools. Johnson said she was one of two tribal members on the 46-member working group, but felt encouraged by the draft they submitted. Read full article…