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ACA-6 Pupil instruction: Native American Indian education.(2021-2022)

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CALIFORNIA LEGISLATURE— 2021–2022 REGULAR SESSION

Assembly Constitutional Amendment
No. 6


Introduced by Assembly Member Ramos
(Coauthors: Assembly Members Arambula, Berman, Carrillo, Cervantes, Cooper, Cristina Garcia, Eduardo Garcia, Lorena Gonzalez, Lee, Mathis, McCarty, Medina, Luz Rivas, Robert Rivas, Rodriguez, Blanca Rubio, Salas, Ting, Villapudua, and Wood)

March 15, 2021


A resolution to propose to the people of the State of California an amendment to the Constitution of the State, by adding Section 15 to Article IX thereof, relating to pupil instruction.


LEGISLATIVE COUNSEL'S DIGEST


ACA 6, as introduced, Ramos. Pupil instruction: Native American Indian education.
An existing provision of the California Constitution establishes the Public School System, which includes all kindergarten schools, elementary schools, secondary schools, technical schools, and state colleges, established in accordance with law and, in addition, the school districts and the other agencies authorized to maintain them. The California Constitution also establishes the office of Superintendent of Public Instruction and requires the Superintendent to be elected by the qualified electors of the State at each gubernatorial election.
This measure would amend the California Constitution to require that, in all of the public elementary and secondary schools of the state, the social studies curriculum for grades 3, 4, 8, and 11 include significant material on the history and culture of California Native Americans. The measure would also require the Superintendent of Public Instruction to ensure that appropriate instructional materials, including, but not necessarily limited to, suitable textbooks and electronic media, are available to local educational agencies, and to private schools that wish to obtain these instructional materials, for these purposes. The measure would also authorize the Legislature and the Governor to enact statutes to implement this measure.
Vote: 2/3   Appropriation: NO   Fiscal Committee: YES   Local Program: NO  

WHEREAS, California pupils receive instruction in California state history in both 3rd grade and in high school. As a part of that history, students 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; and
WHEREAS, 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; and
WHEREAS, 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; and
WHEREAS, 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; and
WHEREAS, 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; and
WHEREAS, 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; now, therefore, be it
Resolved, That an amendment to the California Constitution be proposed to the people of California to instruct all pupils enrolled in kindergarten and grades 1 to 12, inclusive, the accurate history and cultural diversity of California’s Native American people, including California Indian narratives that have been passed down through the generations. This will assist student understanding of the contributions of California Indian tribes to our society today and support pride in those contributions; and be it further
Resolved, That this measure shall be known, and may be cited, as the California Indian Education Act.
Resolved by the Assembly, the Senate concurring, That the Legislature of the State of California at its 2021–22 Regular Session commencing on the seventh day of December 2020, two-thirds of the membership of each house concurring, hereby proposes to the people of the State of California, that the Constitution of the State be amended as follows:

 That Section 15 is added to Article IX thereof, to read:

SEC. 15.
 (a) 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 of Public Instruction shall ensure that appropriate instructional materials, including, but not necessarily limited to, suitable textbooks and electronic media, are available to local educational agencies, and to private schools that wish to obtain these instructional materials, for purposes of this section.
(b) The Legislature and the Governor are authorized to enact statutes to implement this section.