Editorial: Include all Washington tribes in public school curricula

Ray Gardner, the late chairman of the Chinook Nation. Photo from Facebook

Washington newspaper calls on state lawmakers to include all tribes, including the non-federally recognized Chinook Nation, in legislation that requires public schools to teach about Indian history:
The Washington State Senate’s 42-7 vote last week to require public schools to include the history of the state’s 29 federally recognized Indian tribes in their curricula was a good step, but lawmakers missed a great chance to do right by one of our region’s greatest tribes, the Chinook Indian Nation.

Leaving the Chinook out is comprehensible in simple political terms. There are at least 10 other Native American groups in the state that assert tribal status but have not been granted it via official federal channels. Some have a tenuous connection to reality, while others like the Chinook and Duwamish have strong arguments for continued existence. (There are at least 11 unrecognized tribes in Oregon, including the Clatsop-Nehalem Confederated Tribes.)

But spurning the Chinook is incomprehensible in terms of historical reality and justice.

Eminent archaeologists and ethnologists say the Chinook family of tribes along the tidal reaches of the Columbia River were one of the most powerful civilizations on the West Coast. Speak with someone like Dr. Ken Ames of Portland State University and his eyes light up with excitement at the thought of the richness and dominance of the Chinook in this prime territory.

Get the Story:
Editorial: Law or not, include Chinook in lessons Local tribe merits statewide attention (The Chinook Observer 3/18)

Another Opinion:
Editorial: Washington schools should teach Native American history (The Seattle Times 2/2)

Also Today:
Tribal history [See second item] (The Longview Daily News 3/15)
Hatfield dissapointed with American Indian education bill (The Aberdeen Daily World 3/15)
Chinook Tribe left out of state teaching mandate (The Chinook Observer 3/12)

Related Stories
Chinook Nation Chairman Ray Gardner passes away at age 59 (02/05)
Chinook Nation opposes federal recognition bill for fellow tribe (10/08)

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