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    ‘More than a Month’: Educators Trained in Since Time Immemorial Curriculum
    Posted on 03/15/2019
    Educators talk together in a school library during a training

    ‘More than a Month’: Educators Trained in Since Time Immemorial Curriculum

    Since Time Immemorial is a state-mandated Tribal history and culture curriculum, hosted online by the Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI), to support the teaching of tribal sovereignty, tribal history, and contemporary tribal affairs for students in grades K-12. On the morning of March 12, educators gathered in the Native American Education Resource Room at Edmond Meany Middle School for a day of learning about Since Time Immemorial (STI) curriculum.

    The training was led by Gail Morris, Native American Education program manager and Shana Brown, Robert Eagle Staff Middle School history teacher and principal author of the STI curriculum. During the morning portion, the facilitators discussed Native American contemporary topics including the federal recognition of tribes in the Seattle region and its subsequent effect on modern day politics.

    The afternoon was spent honing in on planning considerations for educators and reviewing resources available through Since Time Immemorial and the Seattle Public Schools Native Education Department. Conversations between educators included integrating the work into existing curriculum, common core state standard alignment, and looking ahead to the fall.

    Josie Haley, physical education specialist at Licton Springs K-8 has more than 20 years of teaching under her belt and is in her first year with Seattle Public Schools. An attendee of the professional development session on STI, she shares, “The value of having taken this is for me to be able to gather all of the resources and perspectives to take back into the classroom to gain a greater awareness of the Native American experience.” She touts the expertise of the women leading the session as a highlight. “They [presenters] were Native and writing the curriculum for OSPI [Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction]. They knocked my socks off!” Haley is excited to integrate STI curriculum highlighting the cultural expression of powwow dancing for fitness in her classroom.

    In addition to her previously mentioned accomplishments, Shana Brown is also the lead writer of the Pacific Northwest Modules of the National Museum of American Indians education initiative, Native Knowledge 360 (NK360). In the discussion of curriculum available online, the facilitator scans over the hundreds of resources available at staff’s fingertips, complete with links to units for specific resources and grade levels.

    As an educator, she shares her own perspectives on utilizing the curriculum in her history classroom, “You can visit the Native Knowledge 360 (NK360), Since Time Immemorial (STI), or Seattle Public Schools Native Ed internal sites to access so much learning for yourself and for your students.”

    The resources are intended to bring to the forefront the disregarded voice of American Indians to texts. Brown continues, “STI and NK360 help to bring American Indians into the present and future. Students today still find it hard to believe we still exist. With STI and NK360, the fact that Indian people and Nations are gathering their power is undeniable, and the truth is finally front and center in the classroom."

    Before exiting the workshop, all attendees were gifted the following valuable reading materials to further their learning in and out of the classroom:

    • The People of Cascadia – Pacific Northwest and Native American History by Heidi Bohan
    • American Indians/American Presidents: A History by Clifford E. Trafzer
    • Do All Indians Live in Tipis?: Questions and Answers from the National Museum of the American Indian by National Museum of the American Indian

    Gail Morris reiterates the importance of students learning about Native American education year-round, “We are more than just a month. We are more than November’s Native American Month. We are sovereign nations, and we are distinct. We are the people of this land.” Her department will soon be hosting professional development for staff around cultural appropriation in arts education in collaboration with Visual and Performing Arts Department. To further support their teachers, Seattle Public Schools is creating a course page for American Indian Studies, so that resources are more easily accessible and will pertain to specific tribes in the Seattle area.

    As schools across the district implement Since Time Immemorial curriculum, the goal is to ensure a more accurate view of Washington state and U.S. history for all students as well as enriching the engagement experience of Native students. Through this, Seattle Public Schools can achieve excellence with equity for all students.

    Read more about Since Time Immemorial on 

    Visit the Native Knowledge (NK360) Smithsonian website.