Oregonians are ill-informed about women's history; Native cultures deserve respect from U.S. government

I recently graduated from La Salle Catholic College Prep, just east of Milwaukie city limits, and I would like to address the nationwide gap in learning that's affecting Oregon's schoolchildren.

Children — and Oregonians in general — are ill-informed about women's history, in spite of Women's History Month. According to a recent study commissioned by the National Museum of Women's History, fewer than one in four Americans can recognize female historical figures, such as anti-lynching crusader Ida B. Wells, Revolutionary War heroine Sybil Ludington and first American female physician Elizabeth Blackwell, while nearly 75 percent can recognize male figures such as Paul Revere and Fredrick Douglass.

I do not want our community to contribute to this detrimental unawareness, so we must identify the main causes of this issue. It appears that a gap in the otherwise vital Common Core standards and a lack of concrete action regarding Women's History Month are at fault.

As much as Common Core has done for our schools, social studies is seldom addressed in its curriculum. All of social studies is rolled into its English section, which fails to place enough emphasis on history in general, never mind women's history.

Although all of our recent presidents have issued proclamations acknowledging Women's History Month — and countless agencies, such as the Smithsonian Institute and Library of Congress, are involved — more people at the local level could always take more concrete action.

Get involved with and support the Milwaukie Historical Society, the Clackamas County Historical Society or the Oregon History Society. We should also contact the Council of Chief State School Officers and the National Governors Association Center for Best Practices to urge them to place more emphasis on social studies in general. This way children across Oregon can be informed about our nation's history and the women who shaped it.

Stella A. Tompkins


Native cultures deserve respect

This past fall, I attended a La Salle Prep school-immersion trip to the Blackfeet Indian Reservation in Browning, Montana. As a recent graduate, I am writing to bring attention to the effects of the fully functioning use of the Dakota Access Pipeline towards reservation communities.

I'm not asking for the Dakota Access Pipeline not to be built; we're past that stage now. One the same day that President Trump announced that he pulled the U.S. out of the landmark 2015 climate accord, oil began flowing through the $3.8 billion pipeline.

This pipeline affects the environment. By using this pipeline, researchers have noted the likelihood of an oil spill. While the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe could be directly impacted by spills, it is clear that the pipeline affects the overarching image/culture of all Indian tribes.

I did not have the opportunity to hear from the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe, but based on my experience with the Blackfeet members I met, they support the Blackfeet Environmental Office's mission to "protect, preserve and enhance the environment."

The Blackfeet Tribe is residing in a town that is very broken down and poor. Many kids don't have the opportunity to learn about their culture. Many kids can't speak their native tongue.

Do we want kids to say that instead of seeing their native land being preserved, they saw pipelines and oil spills on their neighboring reservations?

Emma Herder

Happy Valley

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