Beginning in the 2016-2017 academic year, high school students in South Dakota will not be learning about Native Americans. Above, Chief Joseph.

South Dakota Slated to Cut Native American History

Sheena Louise Roetman
9/30/15

South Dakota high school students will not be learning about Native Americans next year, thanks to some quietly approved changes in content standards that no longer require students to study early American history.

Beginning in the 2016-2017 academic year, high school students in South Dakota may choose one of three courses to satisfy their single U.S. history requirement: Early U.S. History, Modern U.S. History or Comprehensive U.S. History.

A group of 35 educators made up the South Dakota Social Studies Content Standards Revision Committee, which recommended the adjustments that were approved on August 24, after a year long approval process – the first changes to be made since 2006.

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The changes effectively remove a large part of American historical context from the required curriculum, including colonialism, the American War for Independence, slavery, Manifest Destiny, the Civil War and women’s suffrage.

Students may still opt to take Early U.S. History. They also now have the option of avoiding it altogether, which makes it a “non-standard standard,” said Ben Jones, dean of arts and sciences for Dakota State University in Madison, as told to the Argus Leader.

The entire content standards report emphasizes critical thinking, inquiry, communication and problem solving skills.

“Rather than just having then memorize a list of historical events on a time line,” Michael Amolins, Harrisburg School District Secondary Curriculum Director, told KSFY, “we're trying to get them to use that information in context so that when they're looking at current events they can make good and informed decisions as citizens and as voters.”

But this leads to another concern – what happens when students get to college?

“What we're going to get is students who don't differentiate,” Michael Mullins, a history professor at Augustana University in Sioux Falls, told KSFY. “Say, Abraham Lincoln's time period from George Washington's time period from the Puritans. And it will get lumped together and we'll wonder why.”

Jones told the Argus Leader, “It’s disabling their citizenship.”

According to the Argus Leader, instructors from colleges and universities around the state submitted a letter to the board opposing the lack of required history. This list included representatives from Dakota State University, University of South Dakota, South Dakota State University, Northern State University, Augustana University, Presentation College, the University of Sioux Falls and Black Hills State University.

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tmsyr11's picture
tmsyr11
Submitted by tmsyr11 on
I "like" how the article title captures your eye (or the eyes of those "Racial-Radicals")....."to do away with Native American history....". Yet thearticle rightfully explains there are other areas, events, histortical attractions being reviewed as well. "American" history doesn't matter anymore considering the popular trend to re -establish or -rewrite history by pushing away "white" events, writings from through "white eyes". This is often the view from ICTMN articles which promote radical racial imbalances by attacking historical events, especially in how the white-man should be perceived, NEGATIVELY, yet they (Racial-Radicals) still use and take personal advantage of American opportunities collectively established by all! For the small minority,consisting of those racial radicals, South Dakota, by cutting out OR giving students a choice in what they want to study review, should not matter based on the views of racial radicals. This is what the radicals wanted and the writer of this article should consider how American - Native History is being challenged now. I believe the South Dakota students should be given that choice in what to review, what to study.

Michael Madrid's picture
Michael Madrid
Submitted by Michael Madrid on
Well, this certainly alleviates any controversies that professors who deny Native genocide might cause. It's the American way . . . sweep under the rug anything that doesn't fit the notion of "the American way." It apparently works too as proven by idiots like Sarah Palin who said, "Our forefathers worked tirelessly to fight slavery."

Yonashawn@gmail.com's picture
Indian Country would do better to tell the two or three facts currently taught about Native Americans that will be dropped next year. Perhaps then the true scope of the real problem could be noted by its readership. As is the big picture for this story only hides the real truth that Native history was never included anyway. I do agree with the jest of the story that less is not more. Yona

value116's picture
value116
Submitted by value116 on
Anywhere and everywhere, Native American History must continue to be taught. The way will become clear as to how to go about it. Each one of us is a teacher. We can't wait for the government or for teachers who may or may not have the passion, drive, creativity or will. Not teaching it is not an option.

Juliet's picture
Juliet
Submitted by Juliet on
Just what we don't need: more clueless generations. People already don't understand, and they HAVE to take history class. How is gutting the curriculum supposed to help that? Answer: it doesn't. The whole thing is an exercise in feel-good teaching. Nobody learns about the bad stuff, as if that will make the effects of that bad stuff magically disappear. Argh!

John Tiffe
John Tiffe
Submitted by John Tiffe on
Bond together so they keep teaching your Heritage in schools the government has no right to do these.

Michele Dawn Saint Thomas's picture
Michele Dawn Sa...
Submitted by Michele Dawn Sa... on
This is so important of a subject, of a people, of a land, that to omit this study is akin to the erroneous belief that this land, our people, and our (or should I state their) history began in 1492. As this relates to indigenous students on the rez, I am able to brilliantly teach this subject, and would do so as a volunteer, without pay. I have the Credentials with degrees CSULB.

Michael Madrid's picture
Michael Madrid
Submitted by Michael Madrid on
To tmsyr11: You wrote: "American" history doesn't matter anymore considering the popular trend to re -establish or -rewrite history by pushing away "white" events, writings from through "white eyes". _____________________________________________________________ You're so full of shit that it's almost like engaging in a battle of wits with an unarmed man. No one is "re-writing" history, we're just insisting on history being accurately taught. You have absolutely NO RIGHT to bitch! History has been told from your perspective since you stole this land! Your forefathers wrote: . . . that all these truths are self-evident, all men are created equal," while the majority of them were slave owners. It's no secret to ANY minority that they clearly meant ALL WHITE MEN ARE CREATED EQUAL. John Quincy Adams said, " America does not go abroad in search of monsters to destroy (and they didn't, they spent their time destroying Natives). She is the well-wisher to the freedom and independence of all." We know how ridiculous this statement is when you consider ACTUAL history! Your great humanitarian, Abraham Lincoln wasn't so great to Natives as he endorsed the execution of 39 Santee Sioux who were guilty of fighting back when they were attacked. It was Lincoln who came up with the WHITEwashed version of the first Thanksgiving. He did so to reunite the country so they could return to the tedious task of eliminating the Native population and stealing their land. American history has been told from the White viewpoint ONLY since before 1776! ____________________________________________________________ I'm almost positive everyone here will agree with me when I say you have absolutely NO reason to bitch! Also, keep in mind what I said previously - life is too short to spend it being an asshole. Why don't you just either quit reading things that upset you, or at least quit making your ignorant, asinine comments!

Michael Madrid's picture
Michael Madrid
Submitted by Michael Madrid on
One can only wonder WHY Native history isn't being taught in a state on the Great Plains? OMG! Does this mean Natives in S.D. might possibly suffer from overt racism?

Michael Madrid's picture
Michael Madrid
Submitted by Michael Madrid on
To tmsyr11 - "Racial Radicals = any minority who complains about discrimination or mistreatment.

onedman's picture
onedman
Submitted by onedman on
Gosh Darn It...I'm trying to be polite here...this just gives me one more reason to feel shame and guilt for being white...the great white way doesn't work, just look at where we are today...I know how funny this is going to sound but, what if those of us that are non-native held Pow Wow's and the like? What if we had sacred grounds left untouched but celebrated? We All Need to be taught Native Histories to learn what genocide really is about. I am a big fan of The Book of The Hopi by Frank Waters and have given it as gifts. Dear tmsyr11, I think you should say you are sorry and mean it! Truly, onedman

onedman's picture
onedman
Submitted by onedman on
Schools aren't for learning anymore, they are for programing minds. My first comment wasn't posted. But, my family came here in 1657. A lot of people in my family are household names. I'm sorry for what my family has done. It is a burden I carry mostly alone.
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