Three Pedagogical Practices

When House Bill 1495 was passed by the Washington State legislature in 2005, a powerful opportunity for teachers arose. The state officially recommended inclusion of tribal history in all common schools. Since Time Immemorial: Tribal Sovereignty in Washington State is the result.

This curriculum uses three approaches:
a. An inquiry based approach with five essential questions:
i. How does physical geography affect the distribution, culture, and economic life of local tribes?
ii. What is the legal status of tribes who negotiated or who did not negotiate settlement for compensation for the loss of their sovereign homelands?
iii. 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?
iv. 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?
v. 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?
b. A place-based approach—Our approach encourages teachers and students to address the essential questions in the context of tribes in their own communities.
c. 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).

Pedagogical Approaches

 Inquiry‐based: Each tribe has its own oral and written histories; there is no one “right answer” when it comes to teaching tribal history and sovereignty.  Therefore, STI uses essential and guiding questions instead of providing the answers.

Place‐Based: Students learn best when they see how lessons impact their everyday lives.  Because historical and political views vary from tribe to tribe, students explore essential and guiding questions through their own local tribal and nontribal communities.

Integrated: STI offers a menu of choices that allows teachers to integrate materials into their already existing lessons, rather than try to somehow fit the curriculum into an already packed—and often shrinking—social studies curriculum.