Gov. Jerry Brown has signed Assembly Bill 738, authored by Assemblywoman Monique Limón, D-Santa Barbara, that requires California to create a model curriculum in Native American studies for schools to integrate into lesson plans in grades nine through 12.
The model curriculum will be designed with input from California tribes to preserve Native American culture and history and educate all students on its importance, Limón said.
The legislation was supported by the Santa Ynez Band of Chumash Indians, which sent three members of the tribe to Sacramento in May to testify about the bill before the Assembly Education Committee.
“The passage of this bill means that students will have an opportunity to learn about our history, our journey, our sovereignty and our culture through a curriculum that will be developed with vital input and oversight from Native American tribes,” said Kenneth Kahn, Chumash tribal chairman, one of the three who testified before the committee.
Limón noted California has the largest Native American population in the United States and the third-largest American Indian student population.
“A school curriculum that draws upon and reflects the history of all students, especially underrepresented students, is critical in providing a positive, engaging and meaningful experience in the classroom,” she said.
Brown signed AB 738 on Indigenous Peoples’ Day, Oct. 9. It will become law Jan. 1.