Land Tenure Curriculum To Be Used in Two States

Feb 15th, 2009 | By | Category: 20-3: Tribal Athletes Fight for Their Place, Tribal College News

The Indian Land Tenure Foundation (ILTF) Board of Directors recently awarded $90,094 in grants and contracts for curriculum development and implementation in South Dakota and Montana.

The foundation gave $50,000 in contracts for tribe-specific curriculum development in Montana to Julie Cajune (Salish and Kootenai Tribes), a curriculum specialist working out of Pablo, MT. She is tribal history project director for Salish Kootenai College and lead consultant with the Montana Indian Education Division’s curriculum development initiative.

Cajune will consult with individual tribes and tribal members to develop tribe- and reservation-specific lessons for the Indian Land Tenure Curriculum that align with the existing Montana Content Standards as well as the Essential Understandings of Montana Tribes.

“The seven reservations in Montana are home to several very distinct tribes with very different land histories, experiences, and cultural practices,” explains Terry Janis, ILTF program officer. “Julie’s work will help to highlight these unique differences. It will also add depth and localized tribal stories and histories to enrich curriculum content for all grade levels.”

In 1999, the Montana Legislature passed the Indian Education for All Act requiring all public schools throughout the state to include coursework in the history and culture of Montana’s Indian tribes. As a part of this mandate, the Montana Office of Public Instruction, Indian Education Division, has made the Indian Land Tenure Curriculum available to educators, administrators and other educational partners.

Janis hopes that Cajune’s work in Montana will “serve as a catalyst” for other states with significant Indian populations, such as South Dakota, that are taking steps to ensure that their academic standards reflect the history and diversity of their regions.

ILTF awarded $40,094 to the South Dakota Department of Education, Office of Indian Education, to support developing state academic standards in American Indian history and culture for the state’s K-12 programs. The grant will allow members of a steering committee, made up of educators and representatives from each of South Dakota’s nine reservations, to develop the core concepts essential to understanding and teaching the history and culture of South Dakota’s American Indian tribes. These core concepts will be used to modify existing state academic standards, establish new standards that include Indian history and culture, and develop the supporting curriculum and coursework for use in the classroom and for teacher training.

In 2007, South Dakota passed an Indian Education Act that ensures ongoing support for several existing statewide programs and includes new provisions for teacher training in South Dakota Indian Studies and the development of curriculum on Native American history and culture.

The Indian Land Tenure Curriculum, which is used by educators throughout Montana, South Dakota, Minnesota, and several other states, is a free, interdisciplinary Indian land curriculum for Head Start, K-12, and college. To download the curriculum, request a copy of the entire curriculum on CD, or learn about curriculum implementation grants available through ILTF, visit the Indian Land Tenure Foundation web site at

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