Bigelow, Bill, and Bob Peterson. Rethinking Columbus: The next 500 Years. Milwaukee, Wisc.: Rethinking Schools, 1998.
In 1991, Bill Bigelow and Bob Peterson published a ground-breaking work that began to change the heroic narrative of Christopher Columbus in classrooms. The book provides educators with the resources required to expose colorblindness and legitimized racism across all educational curriculum and schools of study: Social Studies, Mathematics, Science, English, Economics, Music and Art. In 2012, the Tucson, Arizona school district banned Rethinking Columbus from being used in classrooms. It is the responsibility of all educators to ensure that students learn the historical truth of the Italian explorer who ignited a genocide of Native Peoples across the Americas, stole the land and enslaved millions, to acquire gold and silver for the Spanish Empire. Educators must end colorblindness and legitimized racism in schools. Rethinking Columbus is a great place to start in order to discredit the white supremacy narrative for any teacher who wants to rethink and teach a more enriched and truthful chronicle of Columbus and Indigenous peoples.
Brown, Dee. Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee: An Indian History of the American West: By Dee Brown. New York: Holt, Rinehart & Winston, 1972.
In 1971, Dee Brown, a white author, opened the eyes of millions of Americans when he challenged the narrative taught in schools, observed on film and promoted in sports in his pioneering work. For centuries, whites told the stories of the Indigenous people in North America and ignored nearly all perspectives and primary sources of Native Americans. Brown confronted the racially biased accounts by drawing on autobiographies, council records, oral stories and firsthand accounts to examine the racial genocide of the Sioux, Ute, Dakota, Cheyenne and other tribes during the second half the 19th Century. Bury my Heart at Wounded Knee is a remarkable resource that confronts the colorblindness of the white account of how the West was won.
Diamond, Jared M. Guns, Germs, and Steel: The Fates of Human Societies. New York: W.W. Norton & Company, 2017.
I no longer accept the survival of the fittest tale of United States history and the unquestioned doctrine of American greatness. Guns, Germs and Steel by Jarod Diamond opened my eyes. The false narratives of European superiority and the inferiority of people and their cultures in the Americans before 1492 are discredited. For far too long, European conquest has been told through an incomplete lens of winners and losers, and the inevitability of victory for white Christians in the Colonial Settler narrative. It is time to decolonize American history and provide a new narrative in which both sides of the conflict are told. The history and culture of Native Americans must be explored in the arts, sports and film. Guns, Germs and Steel provides a great start to provide a new chronicle.
Dunbar-Ortiz, Roxanne. An Indigenous Peoples History of the United States. Boston: Beacon Press, 2015.
For centuries, Americans learned the myth of the heroic white settler who tamed and cultivated the land and civilized the Indigenous people. Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz turns the narrative upside down and examines the historical truth behind the creation of the United States. Dunbar-Ortiz details settler colonialism with meticulous research as well as the genocide of Indigenous people from the Pequot Massacre to Wounded Knee. She begins with the first encounters between the English settlers and the Native tribes and explores the brutal violence employed by pioneers to take the land from 1637 to 1890. The inhabitants of North America were not savages who wanted Christianity to save their souls, but self-governed people who loved freedom and mastered the resources provided by nature. All educators should read An Indigenous Peoples History of the United States to broaden their knowledge of Native Americans in order to expose legitimized racism in our history and culture.
Jenkins, Sally. The Real All Americans: The Team That Changed a Game, a People, a Nation. New York: Broadway Books, 2008.
Sally Jenkins examines the Carlisle football team with Jim Thorpe and its dramatic victories over major college football clubs at the turn of the 20th Century, culminating in a triumph over Army in 1912. The descriptions of the formative stages of college football—a brutal and violent sport—provide a wonderful analysis of the early decades of the game. Ivy League institutions dominated college football and there was little regard for the rules and competitive spirit of the game. Jenkins writes a fantastic narrative tying together all of the cultural, historical, racial and contextual information about Native Americans in a Christian society, and the successes and failures of all involved. The book also provides vast insight into Pop Warner, Richard Pratt, Walter Camp, Amos Alonzo Stagg and Teddy Roosevelt.
"The American Indian Movement, 1968-1978." The American Indian Movement, 1968-1978 | DPLA. Accessed July 13, 2019. https://dp.la/primary-source-sets/the-american-indian-movement-1968-1978/additional-resources#tabs.
In Connecticut, the U.S. History curriculum for sophomores is thematic and one of the units is centered on social justice and civil rights in American history. For the summative assessment, I ask the scholars to present oral presentations on civil rights movements and heroes. One of the assigned group projects is the American Indian Movement (AIM), which was founded in 1968 in Minneapolis, Minnesota. AIM advocated for civil rights, protested racism and injustice and illustrated the long history of broken treaties by the Federal government. The site offers so many critical resources for educators to explore colorblindness and legitimized racism from the perspective of Native Americans. I read “The Trail of Broken Treaties, 20-point Position Paper” with my students as a primary source.