Speaking Lushootseed: WA’s Indigenous curriculum may be renamed

Kristen B. French is a professor of elementary education at Western Washington University who has been teaching a tribal-sovereignty course to future educators since before the new state law, and has worked with University of Washington faculty to develop their curriculum for future teachers.

Over the years, students called this curriculum transformative because they hadn’t learned the material in their own schooling.

French is a registered member of the Blackfeet tribe in Montana and a descendant of Gros Ventre in Montana and Eastern Band Cherokee in North Carolina. She works with other Indigenous professors in Washington to teach the course, which includes an exploration of issues like climate change and salmon restoration that are important to local Indigenous nations.

“Being in community together is also showing our students that this work has to be done in community with each other and we’re modeling working with tribal partners,” French said.