New law to create Native American curriculum

Staff Report

Gov. Jerry Brown has signed Assembly Bill 738, authored by Assembly member Monique Limón, D-Santa Barbara, to develop a model curriculum in Native American studies for schools to integrate into lesson plans in grades 9 through 12.

“AB 738 is about communities telling their own stories that can be passed on to future generations,” Limón said. “A school curriculum that draws upon and reflects the history of all students, especially underrepresented students, is critical in providing a positive, engaging and meaningful experience in the classroom.”

The model curriculum will be designed with input from tribes to preserve Native American culture and history, and educate all students on its importance. Schools would be encouraged to offer a course in Native American studies based on the model curriculum.

California has the largest Native American population in the United States and the third-largest American Indian student population.

“This is a proud day for our tribe and Native Americans throughout the state of the California. The passage of this bill means that students will have an opportunity to learn about our history, our journey, our sovereignty and our culture through a curriculum that will be developed with vital input and oversight from Native American tribes,” said Tribal Chairman Kenneth Kahn of the Santa Ynez Band of Chumash Indians.

AB 738 will become law on Jan. 1.