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The Student News Site of Henry M. Gunn High School

麻豆放映免费

The Student News Site of Henry M. Gunn High School

麻豆放映免费

The Student News Site of Henry M. Gunn High School

麻豆放映免费

Native American heritage month prompts inclusive curriculum

Native American heritage month prompts inclusive curriculum
Aarushi Kumar

Each November, the U.S. celebrates the diverse cultures and traditions of Native American communities during Native American Heritage Month. This year鈥檚 theme is 鈥淐elebrating Tribal Sovereignty and Identity,鈥 according to the U.S. Department of the Interior鈥檚 website.

The federal government first recognized Native American Heritage Month in 1990. Since 1994, presidents have issued
proclamations each November to recognize the month. In 2009, President Barack Obama signed a resolution establishing the day after Thanksgiving as Native American Heritage Day.

According to history teacher Chris Johnson, in the 26 years he has been teaching, minority representation has always been on the state鈥檚 social studies standards. In practice, however, it varies from teacher to teacher.

鈥淚t was often at the discretion of the teacher as to how much material they brought in regarding minority groups,鈥 he said. 鈥淚 always try to include as many different ethnic groups as possible within the amount of time we have to cover everything.鈥

Johnson, who has taken multiple Native American studies classes at Foothill College, believes that through investigating U.S. policy regarding indigenous people, the destruction of their cultures and the influence of these communities on colonists and the modern world, students gain a better understanding of American history.

鈥淚 think that what a lot of white people don鈥檛 often realize is that even what鈥檚 considered to be American culture has been so heavily influenced by all the different types of people who have been here 鈥 that not everything is just based upon Anglo culture,鈥 Johnson said.

Last year, history teacher David Bisbee introduced Native American Heritage Month projects to both his World History and U.S. Government classes. Each student is tasked with researching and presenting about the history of and an important figure from a federally recognized indigenous community. Bisbee hopes that these projects will increase students鈥 awareness and appreciation of other cultures.

鈥淭he U.S. puts out a number of heritage months, and some will get more attention than others,鈥 he said. 鈥淭hat鈥檚 why I believe it鈥檚 important to look at what the state says is being recognized, and I鈥檓 doing my part to make sure these communities are being recognized in class.鈥

Still, Gunn alumnus Thomas Li noted areas of instructional weakness in a 2021 Advanced Authentic Research paper on indigenous representation in PAUSD K-12 curricula. Among these flaws were a lack of contemporary Native American history and the use of narratives that exclusively emphasize on disparity rather than celebrate the resilience and strength of Native Americans.

To improve the curriculum, Li proposed highlighting ongoing Native American events, bringing in guest speakers of indigenous heritage and engaging in conversation about underrepresented groups in the district.

鈥淲e don鈥檛 have to single these students out, but I think we can make an effort to promote their stories and provide a more balanced representation,鈥 Li said.

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About the Contributor
Ya-An Xue, Social Media Editor
Sophomore Ya-An Xue is a social media editor and has been on staff since January 2023. Outside of school, she enjoys playing oboe, baking and hiking.
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