The Massachusetts Indigenous Legislative Agenda is promoting five bills in the Legislature to advance the needs of the Indigenous community.
The group includes leadership from the North American Indian Center of Boston, United American Indians of New England, MA Mascot Coalition, UU Mass Action, Massachusetts Peace Action, Network for Social Justice, Italian Americans for Indigenous Peoples Day, and other allies.
Bills most connected to Newton
Of the five bills they are promoting, two have particular relevance to Newton, and fortunately already have co-sponsorship from Newton’s representatives Kay Khan and Ruth Balser. (Because of her leadership position, Newton’s Sen. Cindy Creem generally does not co-sponsor bills.)
- An Act providing for the creation of a permanent commission relative to the education of American Indian and Alaska Native residents of the Commonwealth. As a State Education Agency, the MA Department of Elementary and Secondary Education must engage in timely and meaningful consultation with stakeholders. Representatives of Indian tribes located in the state are explicitly identified as stakeholders. H.536/S.318
- An Act to protect Native American Heritage. This would ensure that Native American funerary objects, sacred objects, and objects of cultural patrimony (those of cultural, traditional or historical importance to their heritage) held in governmental, municipal or non-profit collections are not sold for profit. H.3248/S.2186
Other bills on the Indigenous Legislative Agenda
- An Act prohibiting the use of Native American mascots by public schools in the Commonwealth. Currently about 25 public high schools in the state use Native American mascots. This bill would task the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education with establishing regulations to prohibit Native American mascots in MA public schools. H.477/S.245
- An Act establishing an Indigenous Peoples Day. This bill replaces Columbus Day with Indigenous Peoples Day in the Massachusetts General Laws.H.2989/S.1976
- An Act relative to celebrating and teaching Native American culture and history. This bill addresses the lack of Indigenous curriculum in Massachusetts public schools.H.529/S.344