Connecticut today announced that the State Department of Education is working together with the state’s five recognized tribal nations and educators to create a new Native American studies model curriculum that will be available to schools for the 2023-24 school year. Legislation that passed last spring required school districts to include Native American studies as part of the social studies curriculum.
This model curriculum and curricular resources, once finalized, will include the study of Native American tribes in Connecticut, including Northeastern Woodland tribes. Each of the recognized tribes, Golden Hill Paugussett, Paucatuck Eastern Pequot, Mashantucket Pequot, Mohegan and Schaghticoke tribal nations, has its own individual story, and this curriculum will help students learn more about them.
“Let’s tell it the way it was,” said Laughing Woman, a Mashantucket Pequot elder who spoke at a news conference in Hartford today.
“It’s going to be hurtful, but it is important to speak the truth and not dress it up,” she said. “We will never forget the atrocities and the genocide, which is still going on for Native American people. We have to be respectful of each other. We want to tell our own story, not what is already written down. This is a beginning, a new day.”
“Now with implementing Native American curriculum into our social studies curriculum, now all Connecticut students can learn about our roots through the voices of our people—not through the colonizer’s voice, but through the voices that have been left out,” said Vice Chairwoman of the Mohegan Tribe Council of Elders Beth Regan.
“It’s so important for all of our students to see themselves in the curriculum and hear their stories told,” said CEA President Kate Dias. “And it’s vital that students learn an honest version of our state’s and our country’s history. We look forward to the model curriculum being available to all Connecticut educators.”
“Connecticut students deserve to have inclusive and accurate history lessons,” said Governor Lamont said. “This curriculum is an important part of acknowledging our past and historical connections with our tribal nations. We are going beyond acknowledgment by building meaningful relationships with our tribal leaders and this curriculum effort is a prime example of that.”
“This partnership with Connecticut’s tribal nations is critical to ensuring the Native American studies curriculum development process is driven by Connecticut’s native and indigenous voices,” said Education Commissioner Charlene Russell-Tucker said. “It is our goal to develop nation-leading educational resources and curriculum tools with subject matter experts in their fields and community members, while providing those resources at no cost to districts.”
Staff from the State Department of Educations’ Academic Office said they plan to release the new curriculum in June 2023 and have already begun meeting with officials from Connecticut’s tribes, as well as educators and other stakeholders to develop curriculum standards to inform curriculum resources and materials for the Native American studies model curriculum. Once completed, these curriculum resources will be made available on GoOpenCT, Connecticut’s digital library of open education resources.