From Overlooked to Required: Illinois Senator Fights for Native American History in Schools


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SPRINGFIELD, Ill. – State Senator Suzy Glowiak Hilton (D-Western Springs) announced on Wednesday her proposal to make Native American history a mandatory part of the curriculum for all public elementary and high schools in Illinois. Senator Glowiak Hilton believes that Native American history is a crucial aspect of American history that has been overlooked for far too long.

“Native American history is American history, and it has been overlooked for far too long,” said Glowiak Hilton. “We need to provide our students with a comprehensive education that includes the discrimination, persecution, and resilience of Native Americans throughout history.”

House Bill 1633, which was passed by the Senate Education Committee Tuesday, would require public schools in Illinois to incorporate Native American history into their social studies courses. 

This would entail teachings on the genocide of and discrimination against Native Americans, tribal sovereignty, treaties made between tribal nations and the United States, and the circumstances surrounding forced Native American relocation. Additionally, the bill would mandate a unit of instruction specifically focused on the Native American experience and history within the Midwest and Illinois in American history.

Senator Glowiak Hilton has been a vocal advocate for Native American heritage and has introduced other bills in support of this cause. Senate Bill 1446, which passed the Senate in March and is currently being considered in the House, aims to ensure that schools allow students to wear articles of clothing that have cultural or religious significance. This issue came to Glowiak Hilton’s attention when a student was denied the ability to wear Native American regalia on his graduation cap during his graduation ceremony.

“As an engineer, I value math and science curricula, but we also teach history in our schools, and Native American history has often been left out or misrepresented,” said Glowiak Hilton.

House Bill 1633 now moves to the full Senate for further consideration, with hopes of incorporating Native American history into the mainstream curriculum in Illinois schools. 

Senator Glowiak Hilton believes that this bill is a significant step towards providing students with a well-rounded and accurate understanding of American history that includes the rich contributions and struggles of Native Americans.


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