Cathy Osten


Cathy Osten



March 17, 2021

Sen. Osten Testifies in Favor of a Model K-8th-Grade Curriculum that Includes Native American, Veteran and Other Studies

HARTFORD – State Senator Cathy Osten (D-Sprague), who is a U.S. Army veteran and whose Senate district encompasses both the Mohegan and Mashantucket Pequot tribal nations, lent her support today to a bill that would create a model curriculum for grades K-8 that would be used by local and regional school boards and which would focus on Native Americans, veterans, and a host of other groups.

Sen. Osten lent her support today during the public hearing before the legislature’s Education Committee on House Bill 6619, “N ACT CONCERNING THE DEVELOPMENT OF A KINDERGARTEN TO EIGHTH GRADE MODEL CURRICULUM.”

The bill seeks to create a model grades K-8 curriculum that includes Native American studies, Asian Pacific American studies, lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, and other sexual orientations and gender identities studies, climate change, personal financial management and financial literacy, and the military service and experience of American veterans.

Earlier this year, Sen. Osten introduced Senate Bill 249, “An Act Concerning the Inclusion of Native American Studies in the Social Studies Curriculum,” and that bill is incorporated into HB 6619.

“Connecticut’s history, and surely, that of New England, is a deep and rich one. However, too often in the classroom, examination of this history is compressed into a review of the so called first Thanksgiving and colonial America during the American Revolution. Almost nothing is mentioned of the time preceding this as if people found an empty land that was not already inhabited with peoples who had communities, government structures, religion and all other tenets of a complex life,” Sen. Osten told committee members.

“We are long overdue for an update in the way we teach our shared history. There will undoubtedly be parts of our past that are uncomfortable to learn about, but those uncomfortable parts are as crucial, if not more so, to be aware of, lest we be doomed to repeat the follies of our ancestors. We in Connecticut have such a rich and deep collection of different and unique cultures. Unfortunately, heretofore, we know extraordinarily little about them because that history is avoided in social studies curriculum,” she testified. “In my view, we perform a great disservice to ourselves and our children if we continue to choose to ignore Connecticut’s First Peoples place in the history of what we now know as Connecticut.”

Her entire testimony is attached.

Sen. Osten has introduced other Native American-related bills this session, including:

  • Senate Bill 162, “An Act Concerning Management of Reservation Lands and Tribal Services,” which in part, provides a plan to aid the Schaghticoke Tribal Nation with the costs of building a retaining wall on tribal lands that had flooded from the construction of a nearby hydroelectric plant, the construction and flooding of which was authorized be the Connecticut General Assembly.
  • Senate Bill 438, “An Act Prohibiting the Use of Native American Mascots in Public School”
  • Senate Bill 224, “An Act Concerning the Removal and Replacement of Certain Depictions of Indigenous People and Historical Statutes within Legislative Buildings,” which seeks the removal from the State Capitol of the statue of John Mason, who led the Colonial torture, burning alive and massacre of the Pequots in 1637.
  • Senate Bill 182, “An Act Establishing Indigenous Peoples Day”