Sunday, September 27, 2009
Lies My Teacher Told Me
I've been reading James Loewen's book, Lies My Teacher Told Me. My son gave this book to me before I retired. I've only begun reading it more carefully and it's painful reading.
I got through the Christopher Columbus myth and it shook me up. I knew some of that history. The Nina, Pinta, Santa Maria, etc. I knew he wasn't the first discoverer. I did teach my class that the Norse actually were there before him.
But then there's a whole lot more that textbooks wouldn't touch... what he did after that. He was in this for gold, slaves and riches. Columbus carefully documented all his travels so it's apparently all there to see the cruelty of how native girls of 8 and 9 were given as sex slaves to his lieutenants, how natives who did not regularly produce gold for him had their noses, ears or hands chopped off, and on and on.
"Estimates of Haiti's pre-Columbian population range as high as 8,000,000 people. When Christopher Columbus returned to Spain, he left his brother Bartholomew in charge of the island. Bartholomew took a census of Indian adults in 1496 and came up with 1,100,000." If you count the children, the estimate would probably be more like 3,000,000 but it's still horrendous. Natives were also often killed for sport.
I won't go on further about all the horrible things that were done to the native people here. The Spanish killed and enslaved thousands...millions of natives and considered it their Christian God-given right.
I'm now reading about that first Thanksgiving.... sigh....
I do think all teachers should read this book.
We often talk about how other countries give their citizens misinformation... brainwashing, etc. I'm afraid, we do, too. Oh yes, we do, too.