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Teachers would get help teaching Native American culture

UPDATED: Mon., Jan. 8, 2018, 6:06 p.m.

OLYMPIA – Washington teachers trying to comply with a mandate to integrate Native American culture in their classrooms could get help toward that goal.

A new bill would give teachers more training on tribal history, sovereignty and treaty rights to meet a 2015 law that requires Washington teachers to include those topics in appropriate subjects.

Supporters say teachers need more help learning the curriculum on tribal education, known as “Since Time Immemorial”.

Diana Moore, of the citizen group Learning Rights Relations, said that although the teaching material is available for free online, instructors are overwhelmed by their existing responsibilities and would benefit from more focused training.

“This curriculum is available to teachers,” she said. “But they’re maxed out.”

The bill would apply to both public and private schools.

Rep. John Lovick, D-Mill Creek, said tribal history should be included as an important part of Washington state history.

“It’s important to improve student understanding (of the role) tribes have played in our state’s history,” Lovick said.

Lucinda Young, of the Washington Education Association, said providing tribal education is important to preserve Native American culture.

“When you lose a language, you also lose the culture and the history of that culture,” she said.