Looking Back and Looking Forward

By Dr. Ed Castro, Interim EICL Coordinator

Eastside Prep has shown an incredible amount of growth due to the type and amount of work done around EICL this past fall; I’m so proud to be part of this community.

Looking Back
On election day, we were fortunate to have Kristina Belfiore as our guest speaker. Her talk touched on subjects related to Cultural Competency as a journey, and not just a destination. Her personal and professional perspective was both informative and incredibly humanizing, and I, for one, am grateful to Ms. Belfiore and her family for bravely sharing their personal stories. To better understand some of the topics covered during our assembly, check out the TEDx talk used as part of the presentation by New York radio host Jay-Smooth from 2011.

Looking Forward
I see the Winter Trimester as a season of reflection and a time for community building, starting with Thanksgiving, though Human Rights Day, and with final connections to the December holidays. Once the new year of 2021 begins, both my thinking and teaching around equity and justice will be magnified first with connections to Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day, moving into Black History Month, and ending during Women’s History Month in March.

The continuing EICL Group work happening currently involves moving forward with the exploration around affinity groups and defining what Curriculum and Cultural Competency is at EPS. Cultural Competency, as mentioned before, relates to the ways in which we communicate and understand ourselves and other cultures. The ways in which we view the world while developing positive attitudes regarding others and their cultures. To help with this understanding, a focus group:

  • will arrive at a shared understanding and definition of cultural competency
  • look for “windows and mirrors” within our curriculum, by conducting a survey of the disciplines with current work being done
  • create a resource clearinghouse and EPS micro-lessons

American Indian Heritage Month
Finally, a big “thank you!” to Mr. Fierce for putting together a fantastic North American Indigenous reading list and music playlist, in celebration of American Indian Heritage Month. The playlist offers an eclectic musical offering of rock, hip-hop, and electronica, paired with deep messaging of the culture and identity of indigenous people. I would recommend digging into both the reading (list below) and North American Indigenous Music playlists curated by Mr. Fierce for an integrated learning opportunity.

Reading List

The United States Indigenous History Local Indigenous Non-Fiction
  • The Heartbeat of Wounded Knee: Native America from 1890 to Present, by David Truer
  • Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee: An Indian History of the American West, by Dee Brown
  • Spirits of our Whaling Ancestors: Revitalizing Makah and Nuu-chah-nulth Traditions, by Charlotte Cote
  • The Sea Is My Country: The Maritime World of the Makahs, by Joshua L. Reid
  • The People of Cascadia: Pacific Northwest Native American History, by Heidi Bohan
  • Chief Seattle and the Town That Took His Name: The Change of Worlds for the Native People and Settlers on Puget Sound, by David M. Buerge
  • Archaeology in Washington, by Richard D. Daugherty
  • Ozette: Excavating a Makah Whaling Village, by Ruth Kirk
  • Cedar: Tree of Life to the Northwest Coast Indians, by Hilary Stewart
  • Stone, Bone, Antler, & Shell: Artifacts of the Northwest Coast, by Hilary Stewart