The journey continues for a Senate bill to translate Native American history into schools.
“I could tell you now, there are parents celebrating all over the state. This bill represents the hopes and dreams of many native parents, ”said Cheryl Kary, executive director of the Sacred Pipeline Resource Center.
Senate Bill 2304 requires all public, private, elementary, and secondary schools to include a Native American history curriculum.
As some have said, it took a long time.
“Our tribes were here many, many years before any of my ancestors came to the state, and I want to make sure that in the future my grandchildren and their children have an opportunity to learn about the rich history and culture that these tribes make have provided for us in the past and continue to provide for us now and in the future, ”stated Senator Joan Heckamann, the minority leader of New Rockford.
The law was passed by parliament after it had previously failed in a tie in March.
It was then split into two parts to be voted on.
Division A agrees that the state’s tribal history should be included in North Dakota.
Division B would make it a requirement for high school graduation.
“There have been opponents of the inclusion of history, the American history component that high school is. In order not to kill the bill completely because they disagreed with one part of the bill, they split it in two, ”said Fargo Democratic MP Ruth Buffalo.
Native American students are the highest minority in North Dakota, at over 10 percent.
“You need to have truly culturally engaging practices and strategies in place in the classroom so that students can have that connection and feel more comfortable and involved,” said Lucy Fredericks, director of Indian and Multicultural Education in the Classroom Department.
Fredericks says such a bill would not be a challenge if signed.
Over the years, the department has created resources such as Basic Native American Understanding of North Dakota to aid educators.
“Really help them become more comfortable teaching Native American culture and history lessons,” said Fredericks.
If passed and signed, students would see the change as early as next year.
Senate Bill 2304 must be returned to the Senate Chamber for a new vote as changes have been made to it.