Monday, October 12, 2015

Rethinking Columbus Day

Almost 25 years ago, Rethinking Schools published Rethinking Columbus, which described ways teachers can help students think critically about the so-called Discovery of America.

Educators were hungry for alternatives to the traditional rah-rah Columbus story. For three solid months we sold 1,000 copies a day, seven days a week—more than 90,000 copies in its first three months of publication.

Alas, today, we still need to rethink Columbus. Columbus Day is still a national holiday. This October too many school districts will introduce Columbus to children in kindergarten or first grade. The Columbus myth celebrates colonialism and the domination of Indigenous Peoples by Europeans. Countless Columbus biographies and textbooks fail to teach children anything about the Ta√≠no people who greeted Columbus, and were later enslaved and killed by Columbus.

As Rethinking Schools editor Bill Bigelow writes in his latest Zinn Education Project “If We Knew Our History” column, it’s “time to abolish Columbus Day.”

Read more here, and check out the numerous resources that we have on teaching a fuller truth about the arrival of Europeans in the Americas—and the resistance and resilience of Indigenous Peoples.

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