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Native American Heritage At RBHS

Shalah Russell, Staff Reporter

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The entire month of November is designated as Native American Heritage Month and is encouraged to be celebrated around the nation and in schools, including RBHS. However, many people fail to even acknowledge the month and its meaning.

Kylie Lindquist is in charge of the school’s curriculum guide and says that RB does not have an outlet for Native American students.

“At this point, there is no formalized way that RB recognizes Native American Heritage Month.  Typically, celebrations of this kind are spearheaded by student groups and there is not currently a student group that encompasses Native American Heritage,” said Lindquist. “I do think that some of our history classes address Native American Heritage in a variety of ways as it pertains to their curriculum.”

Ms. Cunningham is the Instructional Coach of the Social Dept. She teaches Western Civilization and Economics and says that information regarding Native Americans is limited.

“Western Civ presents a lot of challenges in including diverse perspectives in general, being that it’s a class focused on Western, and by Western we really mean European and white,” said Cunningham. “In Economics, Native American populations come up when we’re  particularly looking at data from the government, because Native Americans are a group that are tracked just like any other race.”

However, what is lacking in the school’s history curriculum isn’t solely up to Cunningham. The curriculum is chosen by the department as a whole and some teachers might go into some particular areas, such as Native American history, more than others. Classes like U.S history and Area Studies typically include a little more information on broader cultures, tribes, and pre columbian societies, such as the Aztecs and the Mayans.

Many teachers at RB are in favor of Native Americans to be better represented and talked about at our school. They  believe it will take the students’ willpower and determination to get something in place for Native American Heritage Month.

“I’m sure if there was a student demand of some sort of recognition that would definitely be obliged. I can’t see why that would be something they [the students] couldn’t do,” said Cunningham.

On a national scale, the government has an entire website hosted by the Library of Congress, entirely devoted to Native American history (nativeamericanheritagemonth.gov). Its features include a list of upcoming events dealing with Native Americans, listed exhibits, national archives, listed art galleries, and more. During the month of November and throughout the rest of the year, facts and history pertaining to Native Americans is available.

Justine Trevino, another teacher in the Social Studies Department, also encourages students to express their feelings about representation.

“We try to give voices to minorities and groups who aren’t always focused on. I think it would be really cool to show different voices and accomplishments from Native American History. It should definitely be celebrated because culturally, it’s important to look at the United States and understand and accept the people that were here and the people who are here now,” said Trevino.

Trevino believes that learning about the Native Americans, the original people of our country, could actually prove to be fun for students and that the information about them has such long ranges and multiple varieties.

“Different tribes were very different [from each other]. They have different languages and different beliefs and were shaped by the environments they lived in. Sometimes, we tend to group Native Americans just as one, but they’re so different and they have so much diversity and it would be interesting for students to understand that,” said Trevino.

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Free of Bull, Full of Bulldogs
Native American Heritage At RBHS