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.