rising up you float outside yourself

The clouds are // following each other // Into Eternity

"For years, I opened my 11th-grade U.S. history classes by asking students, “What’s the name of that guy they say discovered America?” A few students might object to the word “discover,” but they all knew the fellow I was talking about. “Christopher Columbus!” several called out in unison.

“Right. So who did he find when he came here?” I asked. Usually, a few students would say, “Indians,” but I asked them to be specific: “Which nationality? What are their names?”


In more than 30 years of teaching U.S. history and guest-teaching in others’ classes, I’ve never had a single student say, “Taínos.” How do we explain that? We all know the name of the man who came here from Europe, but none of us knows the name of the people who were here first—and there were hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of them. Why haven’t you heard of them?

This ignorance is an artifact of historical silencing—rendering invisible the lives and stories of entire peoples.

[…] In an interview with Barbara Miner, included in Rethinking Columbus, Suzan Shown Harjo of the Morning Star Institute, who is Creek and Cheyenne, said: “As Native American peoples in this red quarter of Mother Earth, we have no reason to celebrate an invasion that caused the demise of so many of our people, and is still causing destruction today.” After all, Columbus did not merely “discover,” he took over. He kidnapped Taínos, enslaved them—“Let us in the name of the Holy Trinity go on sending all the slaves that can be sold,” Columbus wrote—and “punished” them by ordering that their hands be cut off or that they be chased down by vicious attack dogs, if they failed to deliver the quota of gold that Columbus demanded. One eyewitness accompanying Columbus wrote that it “did them great damage, for a dog is the equal of 10 men against the Indians.”

Corporate textbooks and children’s biographies of Columbus included none of this and were filled with misinformation and distortion. But the deeper problem was the subtext of the Columbus story: it’s OK for big nations to bully small nations, for white people to dominate people of color, to celebrate the colonialists with no attention paid to the perspectives of the colonized, to view history solely from the standpoint of the winners."

Reblogged from josephicus

Bill Bigelow, Rethinking Columbus: Towards a True People’s History (via seschat)

(Source: fariyah)

Hide notes

  1. velvet-lantern reblogged this from ahvahtlom
  2. withmywingsinthesky reblogged this from ahvahtlom
  3. ahvahtlom reblogged this from bluyjay
  4. forestresounding reblogged this from peachy-quinoa
  5. peachy-quinoa reblogged this from fortune-telling
  6. bluyjay reblogged this from torib0o
  7. torib0o reblogged this from mahakavi
  8. walkingoutofdestiny reblogged this from clayray3290
  9. peachfrontpegasus reblogged this from medievalpoc
  10. clayray3290 reblogged this from omgeeeeitsmemyselfandi
  11. akhan65 reblogged this from kittensinclass
  12. negroangersmankind reblogged this from shk-lposunshine
  13. kittensinclass reblogged this from theruraloutfitters
  14. ljmaystrader reblogged this from heartsalchemy
  15. zaquanmad reblogged this from negroangersmankind
  16. magicalcoffeekat reblogged this from youredoinggreattoday
  17. lezbeanchai reblogged this from queanqueer
  18. fortheloveofspace reblogged this from medievalpoc
  19. silenceisacanvas reblogged this from thesuperfeyneednoshoes
  20. dani-fan-tom reblogged this from booksandcatslover
  21. youredoinggreattoday reblogged this from anthrocentric
  22. hossjaeger reblogged this from medievalpoc
  23. justadiffgirl reblogged this from otherwindow
  24. sillybundy reblogged this from medievalpoc
  25. shk-lposunshine reblogged this from medievalpoc
  26. eshemindbodysoul reblogged this from medievalpoc
  27. kaichikai reblogged this from medievalpoc
  28. ihaveamightyrage reblogged this from chaotic-awesome
  29. fortune-telling reblogged this from arrests
  30. logonalump reblogged this from lovelikesummer
  31. lovelikesummer reblogged this from avocadosalad