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Tuesday, November 20 , 2018, 12:21 am | Fair 52º


Tribal Chairman Testifies Before State Assembly

Santa Ynez Band of Chumash Indians Tribal Chairman Kenneth Kahn testified last week before the California State Assembly Education Committee on behalf of AB 738, an educational instruction bill designed to establish California Native Curriculum.

Introduced by Assembly member Monique Limón, AB 738 proposes to require the development of model curriculum in Native American Studies.

Further, the bill encourages each school district and charter school that maintains grade levels 9 to 12, that does not offer a standards-based Native American studies curriculum, to offer a course study in Native American studies based on the model curriculum.

In his testimony, Kahn provided a brief summary of Chumash history pre- and post-mission contact and also expressed the need for AB 738 to provide a true and accurate account of California Indian history.   

Kahn concluded his testimony saying: “Native American’s celebrate their heritage through language, customs and traditions. Every tribe has its own story and AB 738 creates the vehicle to expand the story of California Indians beyond just the Missions.”

Also testifying before the committee was Kathleen Marshall, Chumash tribal member and lead language instructor for the tribe’s Samala language program and Nakia Zavalla, culture director for the Santa Ynez Band of Chumash Indians.

At the hearing, AB 738 was approved by a unanimous vote by the Assembly Education Committee.

“I am honored to author AB 738. We know that California has the third largest American Indian student population,” said Limón.

“This bill ensures a relevant and accurate curriculum that teaches all students about all federally recognized tribes in California and their rich history and significant contribution to our state and country,” she said.

The Santa Ynez Band of Chumash Indians has led educational legislative efforts in the past including AB 544 that established a teaching credential for the teaching of Native American Languages in California Schools. That bill passed in 2008.

In 2015, Gov. Jerry Brown signed bill AB 163 into law that expanded the previous bill to include a culture credential.

Under the Native American language-culture credential created by AB 163, applicants can be authorized to teach courses in Native American language, Native American culture or both in California public schools.

The Santa Ynez Band of Chumash Indians owns and operates the Chumash Casino Resort, on the tribe’s reservation on Highway 246 in Santa Ynez,

— Veronica V. Sandoval for the Santa Ynez Band of Chumash Indians.


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