Indian Education for All (IEFA) Welcome The constitution mandates that schools in the great state of Montana teach about the Native tribes in the state. In a state that lacks widespread ethnic diversity, the indigenous tribal people of Montana become a touchstone for exploration and appreciation of a different culture. The state has identified seven essential understandings that all students in the state should know. This is not solely the responsibility of social studies teachers. All teachers are responsible for integrating native topics into their instruction. The district supports this effort by providing resources and professional development to assist in meeting this goal. It is our belief that learning about other cultures helps us to relate to their perspective and that is a hallmark of an educated mind. 7 Essential Understandings 1 There is great diversity among the twelve tribal nations of Montana in their languages, cultures, histories and governments. Each Nation has a distinct and unique cultural heritage that contributes to modern Montana. Tribal Groups: Flathead Salish, Kootenai, Pend d’ Oreille Blackfeet Blackfeet Rocky Boy’s Chippewa-Cree Fort Belknap Gros Ventre, Assiniboine Fort Peck Sioux, Assiniboine Northern Cheyenne Northern Cheyenne Crow Crow 2 There is great diversity among individual American Indians as identity is developed, defined and redefined by entities, organizations and people. A continuum of Indian identity, unique to each individual, ranges from assimilated to traditional. There is no generic American Indian. 3 The ideologies of Native traditional beliefs and spirituality persist into modern day life as tribal cultures, traditions, and languages are still practiced by many American Indian people and are incorporated into how tribes govern and manage their affairs. Additionally, each tribe has its own oral histories, which are as valid as written histories. These histories pre-date the “discovery” of North America. 4 Reservations are lands that have been reserved by the tribes for their own use through treaties, statutes, and executive orders and were not “given” to them. The principle that land should be acquired from the Indians only through their consent with treaties involved three assumptions:
- Both parties to treaties were sovereign powers.
- Indian tribes had some form of transferable title to the land.
III. Acquisition of Indian lands was solely a government matter not to be left to individual colonists. 5 There were many federal policies put into place throughout American history that have affected Indian people and still shape who they are today. Many of these policies conflicted with one another. Much of Indian history can be related through several major federal policy periods: Colonization/Colonial Period 1492 – 1800s Treaty Period 1789 - 1871 Assimilation Period - Allotment and Boarding School 1879 - 1934 Tribal Reorganization Period 1934 - 1958 Termination and Relocation Period 1953 - 1971 Self-determination Period 1968 – Present 6 History is a story most often related through the subjective experience of the teller. With the inclusion of more and varied voices, histories are being rediscovered and revised. History told from an Indian perspective frequently conflicts with the stories mainstream historians tell. 7 Under the American legal system, Indian tribes have sovereign powers, separate and independent from the federal and state governments. However, the extent and breadth of tribal sovereignty is not the same for each tribe.
IEFA Resources The Office of Public Instruction has provided schools in our district with a wealth of written material to help teach the essential understandings. In addition, there are rich online resources linked to the OPI website: opi.mt.gov. We encourage giving our students the opportunity to learn through literature, guest speakers, field trips and native visual and performing artists. Continuous School Improvement Plan (CSIP)