Brookline will recognize its first official Indigenous Peoples Day next month, and the town’s school department announced it will roll out new educational materials for students.
Last fall, Town Meeting members approved a warrant article that established Indigenous Peoples Day in Brookline, holding it on the same Monday as Columbus Day (Oct. 8).
Over the past several months, Brookline educators in grades K-8 have been preparing by developing new lessons “that are historically accurate, inclusive of multiple perspectives, and recognize the many contributions and accomplishments of indigenous peoples,” according to a statement released this week by Andrew J. Bott, the schools superintendent, and Nicole Gittens, deputy superintendent for teaching and learning.
“As a part of the curriculum, and in accordance with the resolutions contained in [the Town Meeting warrant article], in particular over the next several weeks, your child will experience these new and powerful lessons,” the statement said.
The school department had conducted past reviews of the social studies curriculum. A 2016 review found that “some of our curriculum resources understated the consequences of exploration, settlement, and westward expansion on Native Americans,” the statement said.
In response, those lessons were revised and teams of teachers identified instructional materials that are more equitable and inclusive.
Last year’s Town Meeting warrant article was intended to highlight Native Americans, and also created an Indigenous Peoples Day Celebration Committee in Brookline.
The measure passed with about 92 percent of the Town Meeting vote.
The “cultures of the Indigenous Peoples of the Americas are worthy of being promoted, their history is rich, diverse, and worthy of celebration,” according to the warrant article.
John Hilliard can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.