OSPI logo Since Time Immemorial logo


Middle School
High School
Early Learning
Partnering with Tribes
Implementation and Training
Supplemental Resources


For more information:
Office of Native Education




Logo designed by
Roger Fernandes


Updated 3/13/2017

Since Time Immemorial: Tribal Sovereignty in Washington State

The 2015 legislature passed SB5433 requiring the inclusion of tribal sovereignty curriculum be taught in all schools. The use of the curriculum has been endorsed by all 29 federally recognized tribes.

The resulting curriculum is called Since Time Immemorial: Tribal Sovereignty in Washington State. This curriculum uses three approaches:

An inquiry based approach with five essential questions:

  1. How does physical geography affect the distribution, culture, and economic life of local tribes?
  2. What is the legal status of tribes who negotiated or who did not negotiate settlement for compensation for the loss of their sovereign homelands?
  3. What were the political, economic, and cultural forces consequential to the treaties that led to the movement of tribes from long established homelands to reservations?
  4. What are ways in which Tribes respond to the threats and outside pressure to extinguish their cultures and independence?
  5. What do local Tribes do to meet the challenges of reservation life; and as sovereign nations, what do local Tribes do to meet the economic and cultural needs of their Tribal communities?

A place-based approach. Our approach encourages teachers and students to address the essential questions in the context of tribes in their own communities.

An integrated approach. Teachers choose how much time to spend on tribal sovereignty content to complete their units throughout the year. The integrated approach provides three levels of curriculum for each of the OSPI recommended social studies units, each level building on the last. Tribal sovereignty lessons are aligned to the Common Core State Standards for English/Language Arts. Where appropriate, units build toward successful completion of Content Based Assessments (CBA).

STI Curriculum Flow Chart

Elementary | Middle | High School