California Superintendent Hosting Virtual Classroom on Indigenous Studies

Petroglyphs near Ridgecrest, CA

California Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Thurmond will host the final event in a series of ethnic studies “virtual classrooms” today, July 28, at 2 p.m. on the California Department of Education (CDE) Facebook page and on Twitter (@CaDeptEd). The event will focus on Indigenous Studies, and guests include Assemblymember James Ramos; Mark Macarro, Tribal Chairman of the Pechanga Band of Luiseño Indians; and Dr. Jenell Navarro, Associate Professor at California Polytechnic State University at San Luis Obispo.

As the CDE prepares to submit a revised Ethnic Studies Model Curriculum for public review, these virtual classroom sessions will help students, educators, and families familiarize themselves with the core areas of ethnic studies, including how different groups have struggled and worked together, as well as key concepts such as equality, justice, race, ethnicity, and indigeneity.

During the past three weeks, students learned about the history of ethnic studies as well as the connections and intersections between the histories and experiences of Black people, indigenous people, and people of color in the United States.

These virtual events focus on the four foundational disciplines of ethnic studies: Africana Studies, Asian American Studies, Chicano Latino Studies, and Indigenous Studies. The series features prominent leaders and educators from each discipline to provide lectures.

Today’s lesson will focus on Indigenous Studies, and guests include:

• Assemblymember James Ramos, a lifelong resident of the San Manuel Indian Reservation in San Bernardino County. Ramos, a member of the Serrano/Cahuilla Tribe, is the first California Indian to be elected to the California State Assembly. Ramos is co-founder of the San Manuel Band’s Cultural Awareness Program and serves as director of the California Indian Cultural Awareness Conference held annually at California State University, San Bernardino.

• Mark Macarro, Tribal Chairman of the Pechanga Band of Luiseño Indians in Southern California, who works to maintain and cultivate tribal culture, language, and traditional lifeways so that the Pechanga people can preserve their unique tribal identity.

• Dr. Jenell Navarro, Associate Professor at California Polytechnic State University in San Luis Obispo, whose expertise and publications fall within the fields of Indigenous Studies and Hip-Hop Studies.

• Students and members of CDE’s newly formed Youth Advisory Council.

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