House Joint Resolution No. 9
Introduced By _______________________________________________________________________________
A Joint Resolution of the Senate and the House of Representatives of the State of Montana Urging the Board of Public Education to Adopt Rules Requiring Public Schools To Integrate Montana Indian History and Culture Into the Existing Curricula For Accreditation Purposes and Requiring Completion of a Native American Studies Class, with Emphasis on Montana Indian Education, By Applicants For a Montana Teaching Certificate or for Renewal of a Teaching Certificate.
WHEREAS, prior to 1924, most American Indians did not receive state-supported education because they were not citizens and most states were reluctant to provide educational services to them without direct federal assistance; and
WHEREAS, along with legislation ending the Allotment Period, in 1934 Congress enacted the Johnson-O'Malley Act, which authorized the Secretary of the Interior to contract with states for the education, medical attention, agricultural assistance, and social welfare of American Indians in the state and provided funds designed to reduce the boarding school enrollment by enrolling and educating Indian students in local public schools; and
WHEREAS, as part of the state's educational guarantees, the people of Montana in 1972 included Article X, section 1, subsection (2), in the state constitution, recognizing the distinct and unique cultural heritage of American Indians and expressing the state's commitment to preserve that cultural integrity through education; and
WHEREAS, the Legislature recognizes that Article X, section 9, subsection (3), of the Montana Constitution provides the Board of Public Education with general supervision over the public school system; and
WHEREAS, the 1973 Legislature enacted House Bill No. 343, which required Indian studies to be a part of the educational background of public school teaching personnel employed in public schools located on or near Indian reservations and encouraged Indian studies as part of the educational background of all school personnel in the state; and
WHEREAS, the 1974 Legislature enacted House Joint Resolution No. 60, which clarified House Bill No. 343 and directed the Board of Public Education and the Board of Regents to devise a statewide master plan for enriching the background of all public school teachers in American Indian culture; and
WHEREAS, in response to lobbying efforts and controversy related to the Indian studies requirement, the 1979 Legislature amended House Bill No. 343 to allow individual school districts the option of requiring Indian studies; and
WHEREAS, the 1995 Legislature enacted Senate Joint Resolution No. 11, which requested that the Committee on Indian Affairs study and report to the 1997 Legislature the degree to which Montana's public schools are in compliance with Article X, section 1, subsection (2), of the Montana Constitution; and
WHEREAS, as part of that study, the Committee on Indian Affairs conducted a random survey of 153 public school districts and 363 elementary, middle, and high schools in Montana requesting specific information relating to district policy and descriptions of existing classroom curricula related to American Indian history, culture, or language; and
WHEREAS, in response to the survey, many school districts and schools, including those adjacent to Montana's seven Indian reservations, reported that neither district policy nor school curricula reflected the inclusion of American Indian studies; and
WHEREAS, the Legislature recognizes that the history of Montana and the current problems of the state cannot be adequately understood and addressed unless both Indians and non-Indians have an understanding of the history, culture, and contributions of Montana's Indians; and
WHEREAS, the Legislature commends the Board of Public Education for its efforts to support Article X, section 1, subsection (2), of the Montana Constitution by adopting an administrative rule establishing the Class 7 American Indian language and culture specialist.
NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED BY THE SENATE AND THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES OF THE STATE OF MONTANA:
(1) That the Board of Public Education be strongly urged to adopt rules requiring Montana's public schools to integrate Montana Indian history and culture into the existing curricula for accreditation purposes.
(2) That the Board of Public Education be further urged to adopt rules requiring completion of a Native American studies class, with particular emphasis on Montana Indian education, by applicants for a Montana teaching certificate or teachers seeking renewal of an existing teaching certificate.
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that the Secretary of State send copies of this resolution to the Board of Public Education, to the Board of Regents, to the Office of Public Instruction, to the tribal governments of the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes of the Flathead Reservation, the Blackfeet Nation, the Northern Cheyenne Tribe, the Crow Tribe, the Chippewa-Cree Tribe, the Gros Ventre and Assiniboine Tribes, the Assiniboine and Sioux Tribes, and the Little Shell Band of Chippewa, and to the tribal colleges located on each reservation.