Indigenous Peoples/Coast Salish Day

A Message from Superintendent Greg Baker

Dear students, staff, families and community members,

Today is Indigenous Peoples Day/Coast Salish Day, and it is a day to honor and celebrate Indigenous history and the experiences of Indigenous peoples. Our schools and district are located on the ancestral homelands of the Coast Salish people.

I encourage you to read about the work happening in Bellingham Public Schools in collaboration with local Native peoples and Tribes regarding Since Time Immemorial: Tribal Sovereignty Curriculum. This social studies curriculum was created through a partnership between the state Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction and Tribal nations in Washington and was endorsed by all 29 federally-recognized Tribes in Washington.

The curriculum spans early learning to high school and asks students and teachers to explore ideas such as how the worldviews and perspectives of Indigenous people may be very different from those of non-Indigenous people.

Principal Nick Hayes welcomes Lummi families to Happy Valley Elementary School in an April 2019 all-school assembly.

Photo above: Principal Nick Hayes welcomes Lummi families to Happy Valley Elementary School in an April 2019 all-school assembly.

I also want to take this opportunity to share some wonderful resources from our Tribal neighbors for Indigenous Peoples Day. Thanks to Dr. Emma S. Norman with Northwest Indian College for sharing these resources and encouraging us as a community to listen and learn.

And here’s information about Indigenous Peoples’ Day 2020 from Teaching Tolerance.

As Dr. Norman said in a recent email, “although there is much work to be done, it is great to see people leaning into the work with open hearts and open minds.”

Thank you for joining me in marking this important day.

Greg Baker