Date of Award

2011

Level of Access

Campus-Only Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Department

Education

Advisor

John Maddaus

Second Committee Member

Maureen E. Smith

Third Committee Member

Rebecca H. Berger

Abstract

In 2001, Maine's 120th Legislative session passed Legislative Document 291: An Act to Require Teaching of Maine Native American History and Culture in Maine's Schools (Maine State House). The law was sponsored by Tribal Representative Donna Loring of the Penobscot Indian Nation and mandates that educators from kindergarten through 12th grade teach the governments and political systems of Maine's Native American tribes, as well as their relationships with "local, state, national and international governments" (Maine State House, 2001). Additionally, curriculum must include a historical study of tribal cultural systems and experiences, and territorial and economic systems. As a reflection of this mandate, the Maine Learning Results (MLRs) were rewritten in 2007 and now include standards to help educators meet the provisions required by LD 291. My study attempted to find out the extent to which 4th, 7th, and 8th grade teachers are implementing Wabanaki Studies according to LD 291 as well as their reliance upon state standards, their confidence in teaching Wabanaki Studies, and concerns therein. An online survey revealed that there are still educators who have never heard of LD 291 although there are also educators who are quite knowledgeable of both the law and its basic expectations. Few educators indicated that they do not teach Wabanaki Studies at all; most respondents integrate some sort of Native American study to Maine Studies. Respondents were mostly concerned about proper and accurate material as well as requisite training to teach about a culture of which they are not a member.

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