Education for and about Indigenous Minnesotans has been lackluster for years, say advocates who’ve long pushed the Legislature to make improvements in curriculum and investments in greater resources.
2023 might finally be their year.
“I’ve never seen a teacher at the front of a classroom that ever has looked like me, nor have I ever sat in classrooms that taught about us accurately,” said Rep. Heather Keeler (DFL-Moorhead).
She sponsors HF1875, a large package of proposals that would address this lack of representation by revamping and expanding Indigenous education to all students across the state.
Following a Thursday hearing in the House Education Finance Committee, the package was laid over for possible inclusion in an omnibus bill.
Much of Keeler’s proposal matches language in an omnibus bill passed out of the House Education Policy Committee last Friday. Key policy provisions that have already garnered support in the House include:
Thursday’s hearing detailed specific appropriation requests to accomplish these goals in the coming biennium, including:
Glenda Martin, tribal leader of the Red Lake Band of Chippewa Indians, noted many of the bill’s proposals have been circulating around the Capitol for five to six years.
“The bill is essential for American Indian students,” she said. “We need to break the cycle of ignorance for all Minnesotans.”
She believes passing this package will help close opportunity gaps for Indigenous students, while exposing non-native students to the history and culture of Minnesota’s 11 tribal nations.