Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Celebrate Columbus?

Columbus Day is not a holiday I celebrate, nor do I choose to pass on to my son the myth that Europeans discovered a country where people had already been living for tens of thousands of years, or that those Europeans "explorers" were benevolent happy sunshine and rainbows heroes. I've got ancestors on both sides of that history, and I think Native/Indigenous Peoples Day would be a far more worthwhile holiday.

I got an email today with some interesting links on this subject. Passing them along in the quoted material below:


A recent blog post on Columbus Day Controversies from Education Week:http://blogs.edweek.org/teachers/teaching_now/2010/10/columbus_dayon.html

 An excellent video called Reconsider Columbus Day:

Rethinking Columbus
The Next 500 Years
Resources for teaching about the impact of the arrival of Columbus in the Americas.
edited by Bill Bigelow and Bob Peterson

Why rethink Christopher Columbus? Because the Columbus myth is a foundation of children's beliefs about society. Columbus is often a child's first lesson about encounters between different cultures and races. The murky legend of a brave adventurer tells children whose version of history to accept, and whose to ignore. It says nothing about the brutality of the European invasion of North America.

We need to listen to a wider range of voices. We need to hear from those whose lands and rights were taken away by those who "discovered" them. Their stories, too often suppressed, tell of of 500 years of courageous struggle, and the lasting wisdom of native peoples. Understanding what really happened to them in 1492 is key to understanding why people suffer the same injustices today.

More than 90 essays, poems, interviews, historical vignettes, and lesson plans reevaluate the myth of Columbus and issues of indigenous rights. Rethinking Columbus is packed with useful teaching ideas for kindergarten through college.

Order and read more at:

Unlearning "Indian" Stereotypes
narrated by Native American children

Originally produced by the Council on Interracial Books for Children in 1977. Enhanced by Rethinking Schools in 2008.

Unlearning "Indian" Stereotypes is a multimedia DVD. It teaches about racial stereotypes and provides an introduction to Native American history through the eyes of children. Additional teaching ideas, lessons and resources are also included.

Order and read more at:


Ina's 5 and our Native Homeschool Blog said...

Beautiful post, thanks. I recently got blasted on a hs board for my negative opinion on Columbus day. Great links too. Some I have seen before. Hopefully one day the US will get rid of this holiday. I am just glad I live in Canada where I only have to deal with the annoyance of the lies of the first thanksgiving.

Anet said...

Miigwetch!~Thank you for sharing this post.

Columbus day and Thanksgiving are not celebrated at our home.
We have an Ojibwe Ghost Supper the weekend after Thanksgiving... I still get turkey and pie:)

Ina's 5 and our Native Homeschool Blog said...

Anet, we have Harvest and in November we have an ancestors feast. Nice to run across people with similar feelings. My dh is Mohawk and I am Lakota

Anet said...

Hey Ina,

It's nice to meet you! please come visit us at the purple squirrel homeschool sometime:)

Chele said...

Hi, Anet. I have a little Mohawk in me, very diluted, but enough that I can't abide the happy pilgrims and indians myth of Thanksgiving either. We do celebrate it, but only as a harvest festival.

Chele said...

Hi, Ina. I hope Columbus Day goes away, too. There does seems to be more awareness about why it is offensive this year. I guess that's Progress!