Did you see the good news out of Seattle this past week? First the school board, then the city council, voted to replace Columbus Day with Indigenous Peoples’ Day. It’s a sign that more and more people want to learn—and teach—the truth about our history.
These actions follow on the heels of the spirited protests in Jefferson County, Colorado, where a right wing majority on the school board sought to ensure that curriculum materials “promote citizenship, patriotism, essentials and benefits of the free enterprise system, respect for authority and respect for individual rights.”
This is a good time of year to remember that Columbus did not “respect individual rights.” He came seeking gold. And to get it, he enslaved and brutalized the Taíno people of the Caribbean. Indigenous people resisted and that resistance continues to this day.
The Zinn Education Project features abundant teaching resources to expose students to a much fuller truth than they will get in most children’s biographies or in the corporate textbooks. Read the first chapter of Howard Zinn’s A People’s History of the United States, and follow that with materials from Rethinking Columbus, including “The People vs. Columbus, et al.” trial role play, and other articles included in our If We Knew Our History column.
Rethinking Columbus: What better way to honor Indigenous Peoples’ Day?