As any member of the Native American community will know, modern history has not been kind to the story of our people. Too often, misinformation has spread about everything from the history of America’s beginning to how Native Americans today live.
While many thrive, others do not. One of the biggest challenges faced by our communities stems from ensuring that history is told properly.
A significant part of child support is ensuring that children grow up in an honest and genuine environment. Too often, though, misinformation wins the day, and fiction becomes fact. This is why the rising story of a group of Native American students looking to use a new education law is so important. This new law, with the help of legal professionals, could help to finally dial back years of lies and misinformation spread within the education sector.
This new law will encourage schools across California, in particular, to work with local tribes of Native Americans. Why? To help provide historical lessons that are accurate, honest, and do not look to simply disguise the truth for an easier lesson. How did this come to be?
It all started with one student, Raven Casas. At 16, she recalled undertaking an assessment in English where she was sent to a link about Native American artifacts. Sent there by her teacher, Casas was surprised that the website was more of a merchandise portal for the Kansas City Chiefs, a professional sports team.
Informing her class of why this was not only wrong but openly offensive, Casas decided to try and change things. The new law, the California Indian Education Act, was signed into law by Gov. Gavin Newscom. Could this law help to change the future education quality about the history of Native Americans?
A new path toward learning about Native American history
History is one of the most important topics taught in school precisely because it allows us to see how humanity has both succeeded and failed in the past. By teaching a form of history that misinforms or simply ignores atrocities and mistakes made in the past, it is nigh impossible to give a balanced, realistic reading of the country as a whole.
By “shining a light on the true side of things,” as Casas puts it, the hope is that future generations grow up with a more informed understanding of how Native Americans have been treated since colonization. The law will look to ensure that history lessons are built using information from local tribes, who know the history and reality of the situation better than arguably anyone else.
Students and tribes working together can only help to create a more balanced, realistic, and empathetic take on the situation. Local districts would be asked to submit their work to the state, allowing the state to build a wider and more authentic curriculum from which everyone can learn.
This might not seem like it matters a great deal, but it could be essential to the long-term growth and positivity of the nation. Small acts of change can produce major adjustments in some people and the entire population. This new act, supported by energized youth like Raven, could be essential to building a more empowered understanding of the history of America – warts and all.