November marks a time to honor the culture and history of Native Americans and Alaskan Natives through Native American Heritage Month. It is a reminder of the importance of the first inhabitants of the country we live in today, and an acknowledgement of our appreciation for the Native American and Alaskan Native communities and traditions that still persist.
The state of Washington is home to 29 federally recognized Native American tribes. To learn more about local Native American tribes, you can use this resource to identify the tribes closest to your school district. When reflecting on the history of this holiday, it is important to consider the American Indian perspectives on Thanksgiving. In conversation and in reflection, think about some of the many of the ways that you can research your local history to gain a better understanding to the original inhabitants of the place you call home.
The Puget Sound ESD supports the unique educational and cultural needs of Native American youth through its own Native American Education Program (NAEP). Serving over 600 K-12 students across four school districts (Franklin Pierce, Peninsula, Sumner, University Place), the NAEP is designed to encourage and promote knowledge and awareness of Native American cultural values and traditions while additionally supporting Indigenous students on their path toward college and career readiness. Using the required OSPI Native American STI Curriculum, the NAEP ensures that teachers are adequately trained to educate our students on the historical context of tribes in Washington State and the current issues still affecting these tribes today.