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Yelm Schools serve as a model for statewide initiative to teach tribal culture, issues

“The Yelm District has a strong and ongoing relationship with the Nisqually Tribe.”
Photo credit: Jenna Fissenden

“Yelm Serves as Model District for ‘Since Time Immemorial’ Curriculum”

The Nisqually Project is not your typical assignment. Each year every seventh-grade student in the Yelm School District tackles the project, engaging in five essential questions about the Nisqually Tribe as part of their Pacific Northwest History class. After extensive research, visits from Nisqually Tribal members, and outings to the Nisqually Culture Center and other important sites, they create a written and tactile representation of their knowledge through drawings, canoe or longhouse replicas, and more.”

The project is part of the Since Time Immemorial (STI), a statewide initiative to support the teaching of tribal sovereignty, tribal history, and current tribal issues within the context of Washington and U.S. History. All 29 tribes have endorsed the curriculum’s use and importance, yet although it’s a mandatory requirement through the Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI), not all districts implement it – or are even aware of the mandate.

But then there’s Yelm. Even before STI was signed into law in 2005, the district was already working with the Nisqually Tribe to incorporate tribal perspectives into history classes. Former Ridgeline Middle School teacher Jerry Price, now Social Studies Program Supervisor for OSPI, was instrumental in developing STI’s middle school curriculum. As a result, Yelm Community Schools offers an effective model for how to collaboratively develop a regionally appropriate framework that includes the history and culture of each distinct tribal nation,” by Heidi Smith, Thurston Talk. Read more

Posted by Steve on June 26, 2019 at 12:03 am | Permalink

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