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Blog Post 8/30

After reading the first chapter of Howard Zinn’s A People’s History of the United States, I am disappointed with America’s education system. I am aware of the mistreatment of the Natives by European settlers but not to the extent that was portrayed through this book. I feel as if it is almost a crime to hide this information from our youth. Of course, I understand that some of the events may be traumatizing or too gruesome but the fact that I didn’t even know there were millions of Natives killed in just this time period (not even including during Western expansion) is ridiculous and stunning.

I feel it is unfair for the historians who write our history textbooks to be able to decide what is fit for us to know or not. We should be given all the information in order to form our own opinion on the history of this country. It’s saddening that so many people celebrate Columbus Day, believing that Columbus was some great hero when in reality he was a greedy narrcessist with tunnel vision who didn’t care who or how many died as long as he got what he wanted

Additonally, as I reflect on the current state of our country, I wondered what it would be like if we modeled our behavior after the Natives. They respected each other for who they were. There were no laws yet people understood that their actions had consequences, but at the same time, if they properly atoned for their faults, they would be forgiven. No one was power hungry or invasive of other people’s property. Obviously, our world is very different from what it was over 400 years ago, but just understanding the principle of community and respecting others would take our country pretty far.

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  1. Madeline Orr Madeline Orr

    I agree with your comment that questions why historians and authors have the ability to decide what we can know and what we can’t. I thought this was a very important part of the chapter that stuck out to me and made me question do we have the right to decide to destroy or give something up that is not ours? I also was very interested to read about the amazing inventions and achievements of the tribes before English settlement but they are not given credit or recognition for their work. I think that learning and modeling our values and behaviors off of the native tribes would make a difference in society today.

  2. Thomas Bennett Thomas Bennett

    It seems particularly unfair that not only were the historians who write textbooks likely ingrained with this same falsity when they were children, but the majority of them tend to be white and have in some form of another benefited from the kind of racism Columbus used against the indigenous people. Not only does our society not value the same principles of the original groups(despite those principles likely creating a healthier mental state for all), but we actively view many of their customs of selfness as weakness. This is due in part to the competitive nature of capitalism, but also carries over from how the original European settlers viewed their culture as ludicrous and weak simply because it was different from their own.

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