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Board adopts standards for teaching American Indian history, culture

The South Dakota Board of Education has adopted the Oceti Sakowin Essential Understandings and Standards outlining core concepts for teaching the history and culture of South Dakota’s American Indian people. The action came at its July 25 meeting in Pierre.

The 2007 Indian Education Act mandated the development of course content for curriculum in South Dakota American Indian history and culture. The standards outline grade-level specific activities and resources for teaching the standards.

Gov. Dennis Daugaard spoke in favor of adopting the standards. "Students are more engaged when they find the curriculum relevant," he said. "It's important for Native students to have that relevancy, but it's also equally important for our non-Native students to have a better understanding of the cultural background of the state."

The essential understandings will serve as guides for South Dakota teachers from this point forward.

“This is an important first step in the process,” said Roger Campbell, the South Dakota Department of Education’s director of Indian education. “Our long-term goal is to infuse these concepts into the South Dakota state standards and develop curriculum and resources to support them.”

Click here to view the Oceti Sakowin Essential Understandings.