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Canku Ota

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(Many Paths)

An Online Newsletter Celebrating Native America


November 3, 2001 - Issue 48


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California Governor Signs Viejas Sponsored Indian Curriculum Legislation

California’s history began with Indians thousands of years before the Spanish missions. We’re an important part of the state’s past and we want to be part of the future. Unfortunately, in our public school textbooks, California Indians ceased to exist after 1880. By signing SB 41 into law, Governor Gray Davis has set into motion steps that will provide California’s children with a more accurate portrayal of Indian history and our place as contemporary governments and people,” said Steven F. TeSam, chairman of the Viejas Band of Kumeyaay Indians.

Signed by Governor Gray Davis, October 14, the legislation, SB 41, requires the state librarian to award competitive grants for the development of educational resources on California Native American history, culture and tribal sovereignty for use in grades K-12. The measure requires “that the instructional resources be submitted to the Curriculum Development and Supplemental Materials Commission and to the State Board of Education. Following submission, the law mandates a process, including public hearings, eventually resulting in K-12 curriculum changes during a cycle beginning in 2003.

The bill’s author, Senator DeDe Alpert, D-San Diego, reacting to the governor’s action, stated, “I think this is really the start of our ability here in California to provide the proper educational material and information to all the children of California, so that they will have a better understanding of California Native American history and government.” Alpert added that the new law “will take its place with so much of the other history and government education that we have for our students for all other cultures. I think this is a real positive. I am delighted we are getting going in what I hope will be time for the next text book adoption so these materials will be included when we actually provide new text books to the children of the State of California.”

The measure also requires the state librarian, in cooperation with the University of California, if consented to by the regents, to develop California’s American Indian Nations Information Project (CAINIP) within the state library.

As provided under CAINIP, “The state library shall develop in-depth resources on California’s federally recognized tribes and tribal peoples.” These resources would include, but not be limited to “articles, photographs, sound recordings, and other materials, as well as related appropriate textual explanation and contextual information that will assist the tribes, the general public, and pupils to respectfully appreciate these materials and the rich cultures they represent.”

CAINIP also will include on-line access to these and related materials.

According to the text of the bill, “Currently, the instructional resources available for use in the California public schools do not include accurate contemporary information concerning Native Americans in this state. Therefore, little can be taught that draws together the historic circumstances of California Native Americans with their lives and futures in today’s California. Unfortunately, as a result, myths and faulty stereotypes may be perpetuated.”

Originally initiated by the Viejas Band of Alpine, Calif., the new law is similar to a prior bill vetoed by Governor Davis last year. “We took a serious look at the governor’s reasons for vetoing the previous version, and modified the legislation to mitigate his concerns,” said TeSam. “The Viejas Band is especially appreciative of Lieutenant Governor Cruz Bustamante and Senator Alpert for responding to our concerns and working for nearly three years to obtain enactment of this new law, which passed the Legislature by unanimous votes.”

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  Canku Ota is a free Newsletter celebrating Native America, its traditions and accomplishments . We do not provide subscriber or visitor names to anyone. Some articles presented in Canku Ota may contain copyright material. We have received appropriate permissions for republishing any articles. Material appearing here is distributed without profit or monetary gain to those who have expressed an interest. This is in accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. section 107.  

Canku Ota is a copyright © 2000, 2001 of Vicki Lockard and Paul Barry.


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