Infusing Tribal Curriculum into K-12 Schools: A Case Study of Oregon’s Native American Educational Policies
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Not having accurate contemporary, historical and place-based curriculum drafted in consultation with tribes is a huge disservice and a violation of the trust agreements the United States government entered into with its sovereign nations. Through a single state case study, this research explores how a tribally written curriculum attempts to address this violation by examining the state context of the Native American education landscape and state policy. This research utilizes the theoretical frameworks of Red Pedagogy, Tribal Critical Theory and Culturally Sustaining Pedagogy to explore the intentions of the tribal curriculum writers and the professional development provider of the Confederated Tribes of Grand Ronde Tribal History curriculum unit; Oregon’s American Indian/Alaska Native Education State Plan, and the legislative policy of Senate Bill 13. The study concluded with the following implications for policy, theory, and practice: Indigenous curricular endeavors that center indigenous values, incorporate local context are important, and acknowledge the role of colonialism and are just part of the larger systemic response of decolonization; Implementation challenges are rooted in a colonized paradigm and expanding reform to the educator preparation and policy realm is critical so that all educators (Native and non-Native benefit); Addressing power and hegemonic structures in contexts outside of education (with the local indigenous communities) create a larger and necessary accountability scope; Indigenous knowledge is nuanced, varied, and evolving and thus, needs robust professional development that incorporates best and promising practices in concert with local indigenous communities for both inservice and preservice fields; And without policy and state incentives, the implementation challenges will continue.