Teaching the truth about columbus

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teaching the truth about columbus

Rethinking Columbus: The Next 500 Years: Resources for Teaching about the Impact of the Arrival of Columbus in the Americas by Bill Bigelow

Why rethink Christopher Columbus? Because the Columbus myth is a foundation of childrens beliefs about society. Columbus is often a childs 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 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 80 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.
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Published 24.11.2018

History vs. Christopher Columbus - Alex Gendler

David Cutler David Cutler. Many teachers, students and institutions are reconsidering how to evaluate Columbus, and other figures like him who have been revered in history books of the past.
Bill Bigelow

Teaching kids about Thanksgiving or Columbus? They deserve the real story

Finding good teaching materials for Columbus Day is like searching for a needle in a haystack. States and cities are increasingly recognizing Indigenous Peoples, but appropriate and readily available lesson plans have fallen behind the trend. The times they are a-changing for Christopher Columbus. In , only three states failed to honor the genocidal and delusional navigator. The word is getting out, though, and this year, 16 states will not celebrate him. One by one, cities are also taking matters into their own hands. There are a few decent videos out there, but most of them say Natives came from Asia.

How many of us learned this cheery verse in primary school? In easy-to-memorize rhyming couplets, it relates the tale of Christopher Columbus, a brave and benevolent explorer. But, as I learned while researching my book, Those Who Stayed , the truth about Columbus is infinitely darker than this perky, whitewashed version. On a Friday morning in October in the southern Bahamas, three sailing ships crossed the horizon. Clambering into small tenders, Columbus and his Spanish crew rowed ashore, marveling at the clarity of the shallow water. As he stepped onto the island we now know as San Salvador , Columbus wept and fell to his knees, thanking God.

Once upon a time, teachers celebrated Columbus Day by leading children in choruses of song about the Nina, the Pinta, and the Santa Maria. In recent years, the conversation has become more nuanced, as educators — and people across the country — have begun to explore the many reasons why celebrating Christopher Columbus is problematic: the violent abuse of indigenous peoples, the launch of the transatlantic slave trade, and the introduction of a swath of lethal diseases to an unprepared continent. We asked Eric Shed , a veteran history teacher who now directs the Harvard Teacher Fellows Program , to share perspectives on the changing currents around Columbus Day and the challenges of learning and teaching history, as distinct from celebrating it. He initiated a turning point in our history. Understanding controversies — what Columbus did, how he did it, whether we should be commemorating him — builds skills that are fundamental for understanding history and social studies. The Columbus controversy can also help students see that history is still applicable today.

Begin to think creatively about how we teach the truth about Columbus, without relying on mythology and fiction. Here are some tips and advice.
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She loves blogs as tools for getting information to people who need it in concise, usable form. Lee Ann is also working on her Ph. D in American history at George Mason—a far less concise project than blogging. Contrary to what our grandparents—and perhaps parents—were taught, Christopher Columbus did not discover America in The land had been inhabited for centuries, and other explorers from Europe, Asia, and Africa had already landed here. Neither were his voyages decisive straws breaking the back of the flat earth myth.

For the past 80 years, since Columbus Day became a federal holiday in , we have celebrated an explorer who engaged in enslavement, outright theft and the genocide of this hemisphere's indigenous peoples. In , the Spanish sailor Christopher Columbus embarked on what he believed would be a pathway to riches in India. Landing on the shores of the Americas, Columbus did not think twice about what he believed were an inferior people who should be held as slaves, guides, even as dog food for their ongoing exploits. Perhaps we do not have much to celebrate in this divided country other than sports figures and those who have bravely helped survivors of natural disasters and deadly attacks. But continuing to honor a man who brought such misery to American Indians only serves to hide the truth about how this country was formed. On Columbus Day, this year on Oct. In fact, the propensity for dehumanizing native people is ongoing.

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3 COMMENTS

  1. Joshua E. says:

    And this story — this one-sided story — will set them up to have a mainstream understanding of history, a history told from the perspective of the colonists, a history that celebrates Columbus, a history that erases the indigenous people who lived here.

  2. Maanesthyla says:

    The times they are a-changing for Christopher Columbus.

  3. Dominique P. says:

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