SD tribes unite in opposition of new social studies standards

Published: Apr. 7, 2023 at 2:27 PM MDT
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RAPID CITY, S.D. (KEVN) - Gov. Kristi Noem has pushed for new standards in social studies and has received push-back from educators. Tuesday, a native coalition joins the opposition as well.

South Dakota Education Equity Coalition is a group dedicated to including native people in education. Tuesday, they put out a press release announcing their opposition to standards set forth by the Noem-led proposal. The main focus of why SDEEC decided to oppose the standards stems from the framing of history and how it includes native voices in that discussion.

“The lens by which the proposed social studies standards are written is through a lens exclusive of indigenous communities so we’re getting a very one-sided set of content area standards that are not reflective of the inclusive demographic that we see across the state and that’s problematic,” said Sarah White, executive director of SDEEC.

This comes in contrast with the governor’s position that these standards will include an increased focus on Native American history. The group claims that Native people were not included in the conversation when deciding these standards and that contributes to a feeling of being tacked on at the end of this decision.

“Right at the end you’ll see that there’s a mention of Native American or Native American standards are thrown in with black African American content… almost like we are an afterthought,” said Sherry Johnson, the education director at Sisseton Wahpeton Oyate.

These standards are still being decided on and the Board of Education Standards is set to meet on April 17th in Pierre. White says that she is hopeful that the idea of revisions will be met with an open mind and that Native history can be taught in full context.