Bill Would Mandate “Cultural Competency Training” for State Officials, Lawmakers

TOM STROMME/Bismarck Tribune
North Dakota lawmakers listen as Gov. Jack Dalrymple delivers his budget address on the final day of the Legislature's organizational session on Wednesday, Dec. 7. Tom Stromme / Bismarck Tribune

Legislation introduced by Senate Minority Leader Joan Heckaman would mandate “cultural competency training” for state officials.

Here’s the pertinent excerpt from the legislation, which you can read in full below:

It would also mandate that each organization session for the Legislature include similar training:

This may surprise some of you readers, but I’m not immediately hostile to this idea. I don’t think any of us should be so arrogant as to believe that we can understand what life is like for people who don’t necessarily share our backgrounds. The obvious example being lawmakers, most of whom live far from our state’s Native American communities, not understanding the ins-and-outs of tribal government. Or what life is really like living on a reservation.

The problem is that what does and does not constitute “cultural competency” is going to vary. It would be easy for a program like this to veer from common sense education into some sort of a political “social justice” curriculum.

We want understanding not indoctrination.

Honestly, I think it’s best to expect lawmakers to explore the histories and needs of the various communities they represent themselves.

Here’s the full legislation:

Rob Port is the editor of SayAnythingBlog.com, a columnist for the Forum News Service, and host of the Plain Talk Podcast which you can subscribe to by clicking here.

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