I just had to explain to my 4 year old daughter who Christopher Columbus really was, and why we don’t celebrate him. I then continued to explain why, instead, we celebrate our ancestors and the other Native tribes from Turtle Island.
It was painful to try and explain homicidal atrocities to a 4 year old (lightly) right after she was brainwashed by her preschool about what a great explorer he was. I wouldn’t have to broach this subject if her school celebrated indigenous peoples day, rather then feeding my child with misinformation about Columbus.
I know it’s not intentional. It’s “normal” and most people don’t really know the truth. This is setting our children up with a fantasy story about Columbus, only then to find out later in life they were fed a lie (like I was). It adds insult to injury, especially for me, as a Native American Mother.
When we walked into her classroom this morning, the teacher was beginning the Columbus lesson… My stomach turned into knots. My child was being taught a lie, right in front of me. I couldn’t confront the teacher in front of the class, since I didnt want to cause a scene or be disrespectful. I felt it wasn’t my place, and I had to shut the door and breathe. I didn’t have the time or the courage to speak up to the school director about this lesson plan…. but after tonight, I’m committed.
I will be presenting to the school director information about the truth of Christopher Columbus and the atrocities of genocide he committed. I will encourage the school to adopt indigenous peoples day instead and offer connections to local chumash tribal members as guest speakers, or offer my own service of telling the Klamath creation story to the children.
The change needs to start, and I’m ready to step up to be that change, for the children. I know it may seem small, but if we set the children up with the truth (and we dont need to tell them about Colombus at all, IMO) we are setting them up to succeed as the future caretakers of this planet.
It is intimidating as one parent to go against this ingrained story that many people know as an integral part of American history. It is a story of delusion, and isn’t really about America as much as it’s about European culture coming to dominate Native Americans. Also, there were many other explorers that came to America before Colombus. What about Leif Erickson and the Vikings from the 10th century, or even the Irish monks from the 7th century? There are theories of the Chinese “discovering” America in 1421, which was 71 years before Columbus even showed up.
If the goal of this National Holiday is to celebrate the origins of America, then let’s get the story straight. Let’s start from the beginning at the Bering Land Bridge over 16,000 years ago. We can then show the children how so many people from different corners of the Earth over the time have come to find a home here on Turtle Island. It becomes clear that we are all visitors here, and we can learn from the first nations about how they lived in alignment as caretakers of the land. We have become disconnected from this fundamental truth, and by honoring the indigenous peoples of Turtle Island we can begin to heal the wounds from the past as a society.
We are borrowing this biosphere from the children, and with that it is our duty to help them understand the truth of history as much as we can.
I will make a stand for my daughter , and for the children that come after her. I will do my small piece in changing the paradigm. I was triggered for a reason, and that reason is change.