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Conn. Bill Would Require Native American Studies in Public School Lessons

Public School
Jessica Hill
Connecticut recently passed a law to include Black and Latino studies in the public schools curriculum.

Native American history would be a mandatory part of public schools in Connecticut, if a bill introduced by State Senator Cathy Osten passes.

Osten’s district includes the tribal lands of both the Mohegan and the Mashantucket Pequot -- the state’s two federally-recognized tribes. Osten said pre-colonial Native American history and culture are still relevant in Connecticut.

“They were part and parcel of our state before our state was ever our state. And they are part of our history that people have, in many ways, forgotten about," said Osten.

Representatives from the Mashantucket Pequot and Mohegan endorsed the bill — along with three other Native American tribes in the state.

“It has not been widely recognized that Connecticut had already had settled Native American tribes who were the first people of our state," Osten said of the Mashantucket Pequot and Mohegan tribes, "They had trade policies and they had politics. They had environmental policies and they had spirituality.”

Osten proposed a similar bill last year before the legislative session was cut short due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Davis Dunavin loves telling stories, whether on the radio or around the campfire. He started in Missouri and ended up in Connecticut, which, he'd like to point out, is the same geographic trajectory taken by Mark Twain.