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Mom says kindergartner regularly told by teacher he lives on ‘stolen land’

(Unsplash)

A mom in Renton was surprised to learn that her kindergartner had to listen to a message at the beginning of every school day about how they were on stolen land, relating to indigenous people’s land and the Duwamish.

The mom spoke to the Renton School District principal about it and joined the Dori Monson Show on KIRO Radio to discuss.

“I thought, ‘Is this really what they’re doing on the first day? Really?’ Ok, well, continue then, I guess … So day three or four, I was like, I’m just going to record the beginning of class and see what happens. And sure enough, it was the same thing. But this time [the teacher] did tell them that they didn’t feel the way, as you heard in the audio, and that their parents didn’t steal the land, it was people a long time ago, but it was still stolen,” Angela said.

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Angela found it a bit jarring and inappropriate to play this for kindergarteners, and the principal seemed to agree.

“You just told my kids that they’re living on something stolen and stealing is bad. I just was in shock, actually. Like, what is happening? … [The principal] wasn’t aware that this was happening, and so basically, she is planning to have a talk with her within the next week, and then she’ll report back to me. But she agreed that there was a time and a place, and kindergarten was not the time and place to be doing it,” Angela said.

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“Today, though, the teacher took 17 minutes of class time to talk about it. First, she showed a video of another school doing land acknowledgment, like a poem. And then she had the kids repeat that acknowledgement poem back,” she added. “And then she decided that the students were going to write one for the Duwamish people. So they took the time to do that.”

Regardless of the historical issues itself, Angela says kindergarten should be a time of socializing and friendship, not one that involves this type of messaging.

“They should be socializing, they should be building friendships, they should be singing songs and enjoying it. Starting off every day reminding children that they’re living on stolen land does not, in my opinion, start the day off great,” she said.

Listen to the Dori Monson Show weekday afternoons from noon – 3 p.m. on KIRO Radio, 97.3 FM. Subscribe to the podcast here.

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