We have an opportunity to include Tlingit language in our public schools. This is a chance to increase the effectiveness and inclusiveness of our schools. I believe that knowledge from and about the Native American community has been slighted in our schools for many years. The problem has been prolonged by recent policy decisions.
Here are some ways that the Juneau schools could have done better: Our Indian Studies program might provide content for all students to learn the history, art and the language of the Tlingit nation throughout their schooling. Our middle school and high school world language classes might include Tlingit instruction. Our activities might include Native dance. Out staff demographics might show plenty of teachers, counselors, and administrators who identify themselves as Native Americans working with our children.
The school board now faces a decision to grant or deny a charter school application. This is a fresh policy decision that will show our attitude toward Tlingit language and culture. I support the formation of this charter school.