Social Studies Curriculum Press Release
To: Umonhon Nation Public Schools students, parents, staff, and community members
We wanted to provide an update to our school community on some recent discussions about Nebraska social studies education.
Last year, some interested individuals formed the “Nebraska Indian Education Association,” which we will refer to as the “Association.” You may have seen coverage of the Association’s work in the news over the last several months. From what we understand, the Association was formed to help address lower school achievement by Native American youth.
Last April, the Nebraska Department of Education released proposed updates to the state’s social studies standards for public schools in Nebraska. These standards generally set the basic requirements for social studies curriculum in public schools. As part the updating process, they solicited feedback on the revised standards.
Representatives of the Association provided commentary to the State Board. Their input encouraged the State Board to consider a greater focus on Native American history and contributions of Native Americans. According to a story by the Omaha World Herald, the Association encouraged the State Board to adopt standards that “teach about the concept of tribal sovereignty, Indian science and horticulture, and about the centuries before European settlement when their civilization thrived.”
We understand that Association representatives may have claimed to represent the interests of Umonhon Nation Public Schools. Although we appreciate the intentions of the Association, our school representatives have not collaborated with the Association. We have not authorized them to speak for our school, and they do not represent our students and staff. While the state standards contain certain requirements for our social studies curriculum, most decisions on how to implement and teach the standards to our students are made by our administration and school board at the local level.
We believe our community and school should contribute to the discussion of the updated standards.However, we want to make clear that the Association does not represent our school. We plan to choose our own representation and join the discussion following consultation with the Omaha Tribal Government and school officials.