Today's Law As Amended

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AB-1554 Pupil instruction: California Indian Education Act.(2021-2022)

As Amends the Law Today

 (a) This act shall be known, and may be cited, as the California Indian Education Act.
(b) The Legislature finds and declares all of the following:
(1) California pupils receive instruction in California state history in both 3rd grade and in high school. As a part of that history, pupils spend one to two lessons on California Native American people, giving them a limited understanding of Native American culture and the significant historical contributions of California Native American people.
(2) The history and contributions of California Native Americans have been comparatively ignored, written in large part from the viewpoint of California’s settlers, thereby promoting false narratives and biases while omitting an account of accurate Native American history, the facts of which are often found to be hard or uncomfortable to talk about.
(3) According to the 2016 History-Social Science Framework, 4th grade pupils begin learning about the impact of California’s Spanish missionary period including its interaction with Native Americans. The framework focuses on missions, ranchos, and the Mexican War of Independence. Teachers may still use the Missions Project diorama for instruction as they focus on other historical information including pre-Columbian history and the history of Native Americans during the Spanish era. The Spanish era was one of the worst times for Native American peoples, a period when the missions enslaved many Native Americans to build projects, committing terrible atrocities including the sterilizing of many Native American women. During this period, Native Americans experienced forced assimilation to the local Spanish culture and attempts were made to eradicate the history and culture of Native American peoples.
(4) Pupils are not taught historical accounts of Native American tribes and their interactions with the United States Government, including treaties, genocide, enslavement, the Indian Removal Act (1830), American Indian Urban Relocation, and other historical incidents. Few Californians are aware of the call by California’s first Governor, who put a bounty on the heads of Native Americans and called for their extermination. The Governor also funded militias and offered bounties by the state to fulfill that order.
(5)  One historical incident not taught in state classrooms is the massacre of Pomo Indians in 1850 near Clear Lake. The massacre was carried out by a regiment of the United States Cavalry. This would later be called the Bloody Island Massacre, a government-sanctioned effort to exterminate Native Americans from California.
(6) It is critical that the state address the incomplete and inaccurate teaching of California Native American history. There should be thoughtful and comprehensive instructional standards that include education about the Native American people of the State of California, ensuring that history and social science instruction reflect the state’s true history.

SEC. 2.

 Section 51206.2 is added to the Education Code, to read:

 Notwithstanding any other law, in all of the public elementary and secondary schools of the state, the social studies curriculum for grades 3, 4, 8, and 11 shall include significant material on the history and culture of California Native Americans. The Superintendent shall ensure that appropriate instructional materials, including, but not necessarily limited to, suitable textbooks and electronic media, are available, for purposes of this section, to local educational agencies, and to private schools that wish to obtain these instructional materials for fair market value.
SEC. 3.
 If the Commission on State Mandates determines that this act contains costs mandated by the state, reimbursement to local agencies and school districts for those costs shall be made pursuant to Part 7 (commencing with Section 17500) of Division 4 of Title 2 of the Government Code.