OLYMPIA—Tribal history, sovereignty, culture, language, and government are essential to Washington’s past, present, and future—and unfortunately lack presence in k-12 education. Representative Debra Lekanoff (D-Bow) sponsored House Bill 1332 to require that all school districts incorporate a tribal sovereignty curriculum into their social studies curricula, including materials about the history, culture, and government of their nearest federally recognized tribes.
“Erasure of Indigenous history and culture in education denies Indigenous people of space, resources, compassion, and understanding,” said Lekanoff. “Inclusion of Indigenous history and culture allows for greater historical transparency, celebration of culture, and increased Indigenous representation.”
There is a vacuum of education about Indigenous history in Washington that must be addressed. It is important for students to learn the history of Washington and its people—teaching American history without teaching accurate Indigenous history is to deny Indigenous people space and existence. Existing misinformation creates fear, racism, and harm.
This bill requires incorporation of a tribal sovereignty curriculum in all school districts, establishes student instruction requirements by grade level, authorizes OSPI to administer grants to meet and update requirements, and requires the State Board of Education, in coordination with the Office on Native Education, to implement a system of annual evaluations for compliance.
House Bill 1332 passed in the House on March 8, 2023, and will now advance to the Senate for consideration.