Learning about the history of the U.S. is crucial to better understanding the nation. Native American history is important to U.S. history, knowledge and ideas. But in the U.S., most students don’t get accurate education on Native Americans and Indigenous cultures.
“When you omit a chunk of material like major historical events, (you also omit) philosophical thoughts and inclusion of how this particular minority group thinks about certain kinds of things. We’re not invisible. We’re still here. Native people are still on this earth. We still are contributing members of society. That has to be dealt with,” said Jace DeCorey, a Lakota elder and history professor, in an SD News Watch article.
Some of South Dakota’s neighboring states, such as North Dakota and Montana, require Native American history to be a part of the social studies curriculum in public and nonpublic schools as of 2020.
Currently, in South Dakota, there is a debate over the social studies curriculum for the K-12 grade levels. There is an opportunity to require students to learn more about the history of Indigenous peoples.
Knowing history, good and bad, is needed to help people understand where the world stands based on past situations. The history of America is littered with victories and losses. The U.S. has been on the right side of history as well as the wrong.
It is crucial to remember what Edmund Burke said: “In history, a great volume is unrolled for our instruction, drawing the materials of future wisdom from the past errors and infirmities of mankind.” Students need to know the complete history of the U.S. to be able to understand their own viewpoints as well as the viewpoints of other communities.
Learning about other cultural identities shows there is more than one way of thinking. There is no one right answer. Nothing is black and white in the world. Students of future generations—students who will become the leaders of the world—need to know the complete history of the nation they will soon represent.