© 2022
Virginia's Public Radio
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
Available On Air Stations

Virginia Tribes work with state officials on correct history education standards

Pamela D'Angelo
From left: May Edwards, Chairperson VTEC (Chickahominy Tribe); Owen Adams, VTEC administrator (Upper Mattaponi Tribe); Deborah Wilkinson, Secretary VTEC (Upper Mattaponi Tribe)

A delay in Virginia’s overhaul of state standards for history and social studies learning standards has some concerned, but one minority group is confident changes they’ve made will stick.

At the Nansemond Pow Wow last weekend one of the booths was manned by a group represented by the seven federally recognized Tribes in Virginia. The Virginia Tribal Education Consortium, or VTEC, have been working with state educators to correct what’s being taught in schools about their Tribes.

Basically, the history in there that they have that the students are getting now is not really the truth, it’s not really the facts," says Owen Adams, a citizen of the Upper Mattaponi Tribe who works for VTEC. "So, they’re working with the individual counties to correct those books.”

Federally recognized Tribes are sovereign nations, so VTEC is their tribal education agency; the equivalent of the Department of Education. Funded by federal grants and donations it’s also the first consortium of its kind in the U.S.

May Edwards, a citizen of the Chickahominy Tribe, has a doctorate in education and is VTEC’s chair.

We work very closely with the Department of Education and the SOL portion of that, specifically the history SOL," Edwards explains. "It’s to ensure that the documented Natives here within the Commonwealth, that history is accurate and that is going into the school systems; K-12, even through the colleges – state, community and private.”

That’s already underway. Albemarle County worked with VTEC to redesign their K-5 Standards of Learning called “Reframing the Narrative” that will be in place this school year.

This report, provided by Virginia Public Radio, was made possible with support from the Virginia Education Association.