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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:

  • How does physical geography affect the distribution, culture, and economic life of local tribes?
  • What is the legal status of tribes who negotiated or who did not negotiate settlement for compensation for the loss of their sovereign homelands?
  • 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?
  • What are the ways in which tribes responded to the threats to extinguish their cultures and independence, such as missionaries, boarding schools, assimilation policies, and the reservation system?
  • What have tribes done to meet the challenges of reservation life? What have these tribes, as sovereign nations, done 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. Where appropriate, units build toward successful completion of Content Based Assessments (CBA).

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