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Salmon egg mural painted by local Coast Salish artist Jason LaClair at Happy Valley

In 2015, Senate Bill 5433 passed requiring the Since Time Immemorial: Tribal Sovereignty in Washington State or other tribally-developed curriculum be taught in all schools.  The use of the Since Time Immemorial curriculum has been endorsed by all 29 federally recognized tribes.  

STI is… 

An inquiry-based approach with five essential questions: 

  1. How does physical geography affect the distribution, culture, and economic life of local tribes? 
  1. What is the legal status of tribes who negotiated or who did not negotiate settlement for compensation for the loss of their sovereign homelands? 
  1. What were the political, economic, and cultural forces consequential to the treaties that led to the movement of tribes from long established homelands to reservations? 
  1. What are ways in which Tribes respond to the threats and outside pressure to extinguish their cultures and independence? 
  1. What do local Tribes do to meet the challenges of reservation life; and as sovereign nations, what do local Tribes do to meet the economic and cultural needs of their Tribal communities? 

A place-based approach. The curriculum addresses the essential questions in the context of tribes in our own communities, Lummi Nation and Nooksack Tribe. 

An integrated approach. The curriculum integrates in Social Studies, Literacy, Socio-Emotional and Environment Science standards into these units of study. 


Happy Valley teachers have been working in teaching teams to implement the Since Time Immemorial Curriculum.  Teaching teams collaborated with Jason LaClair, Lummi artist, and Allied Arts to bring K-3 pathways from Since Time Immemorial to life at our school this 2021-2022 school year. 

Enduring Understandings for some of these particular units include:  

  • Learning about our individual and collective identities, diversity, and cultures as well as ways to work toward a more just or equitable community. 
  • The role of salmon in the way of life for the First Peoples of the Pacific Northwest “since time immemorial” including Lummi and Nooksack people 
  • Learning about Native and Indigenous traditions, practices and stories passed down through generations. 

Jason LaClair, a Coast Salish Lummi artist, collaborated with the 3-5th grade teaching teams to teach about Coast Salish traditional art, culture and oral storytelling related to his art including that of the Salmon Woman, Salmon Boy and how the First Salmon Ceremony came to be.  These are aligned to the OSPI STI curriculum.  Students created art using the Coast Salish motif to display on a mural surrounding Jason’s Skwe-shun-ut “Protecting Our Way of Life” mural in our building and they are also recorded in these videos: