Nevada educators developing American Indian curriculum

The media reports that Nevada teachers converged on Reno this week to develop curricula for teaching local American Indian culture in state schools.

“Nevada history is incomplete without the Native American experience,” said Stacey Montooth, a member of the team established by the Nevada Department of Education to create the curriculum.

While some teachers take the initiative to incorporate American Indian history into their lesson plans, experts say it is often incomplete and misinformed.

As a teacher in Clark County, Lynn Manning, said she saw that first-hand.

“The teachers there knew nothing of the tribes of Nevada,” she said. “When they taught about Native people, much of it was outdated and stereotypical. It was totem poles and teepees in the same discussion.”

Spearheaded by Fredina Drye-Romero, Indian education coordinator for the Nevada Department of Education, the curriculum will teach both the history and contemporary lifestyles of Nevada's four main tribes: Northern Paiute, Southern Paiute, Washoe and Western Shoshone.

“We didn't want to focus on just the history because we're not gone,” Romero said. “We're still here.”

Romero said the curriculum should be available to Nevada's teachers by next school year to be used as a resource. In the future, she said, she'd like to see it become a requirement.

“I would love to have this mandated,” she said, noting she didn't learn about her own Paiute history until college.

 

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