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Legislation was introuduced in the California Assembly that would require the mistreatment endured by Native Americans to be taught to K-12 public school students in the state.California Assemblymember James C. Ramos, the first California Native American elected to the legislature, introduced AB 1703, the California Indian Education Act, on Thursday.

Under the proposed measure, when teaching about the Spanish Mission and Gold Rush Eras, California public schools would be required to teach the true history of the impact on California Native Americans during those periods.

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"This bill builds upon my previous legislation, the California Indian Education Act, approved in 2022. For far too long California’s First People and their history have been ignored or misrepresented. Classroom instruction about the Mission and Gold Rush periods fails to include the loss of life, enslavement, starvation, illness and violence inflicted upon California Native American people during those times," Ramos said. "These historical omissions from the curriculum are misleading.  I look forward to working with my colleagues to pass this bill and get it to the Governor’s desk.”

Late last year, a poll released by the Institute of Governmental Studies showed strong support to require California schools to incorporate teaching about Native American tribes’ history and culture. An overwhelming 80 percent of respondents were in support of a requirement.

In 2022, Governor Gavin Newsom signed AB 1703 – the California Indian Education Act – into  law. It encourages local educational agencies to create California Indian Education Task Forces to develop curriculum about the history and culture of tribes native or residing in their region. Although AB 1703 was a significant step toward inclusion of native voices, it stopped short of requiring the change in curriculum. AB 1821 would take that extra step.

AB 1821 is sponsored by the Soboba Band of Luiseno Indians. 

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