I wasn’t too different than most children who grow up in the United States and take lessons in history — specifically, the history of the United States, and how it came to be. We learned about the pilgrims and the Native Americans, and how wonderfully everything went when the pilgrims settled the colonies in an effort to escape religious persecution. We learned about the first Thanksgiving meal and how the Pilgrims learned so much about growing new crops and making homes.

It wasn’t until I entered into University that I learned that everything I just mentioned now was a pack of lies sold to us without our knowledge. Not only that, but the lies were, and continue to be, sold to children to this day in the United States.

Why is there this need to change the history of this country to make it sound so warm and wonderful?

For what reason do we not give information that is at least close to reality — that we weren’t exactly a welcome presence in this country, that the people who bought Manhattan just about stole it with their “deal” — and that millions of native dwellers died from disease that was brought to this country by settlers?

Okay, so I see why we would want to tone down that last part just a little bit. Yet, I can’t help but think that we should not romanticize the settling of the United States quite as much as teachers routinely do now.

What could teachers in the 21st century teach children now that would not leave them screaming with never ending nightmares yet would not be mostly fictional?


  1. You ask some grisly questions, Gordon. How do we know what we know? We read and learn what is made available to us — and if every available source material is postured in a knowing lie — then the lie becomes the truth to a new mind.
    They say the winners of the war write the history of the war — and that’s probably what happened with the status of the Native American in the United States.
    Somehow I don’t believe the history would be so harsh against us in the reverse if the Native Americans had won the Indian Wars.

  2. I remember reading a paper about Buffalo Bill’s Wild Western Show which was completely based on made up stories that never really took place. There were historians that spoke of the settlers arriving on our vast empty expanses of land — only they weren’t empty, they were populated with non-whites.
    I agree with you about the history in reverse.

  3. Excellent article, Gordon! Kudos!
    History is always written by the winners, so it’s their view which is going to be taught unless one probes deep.
    Here is what the British thinks about the current Indian History:
    And, here is what they did with their school curriculum.
    Interesting, right?

  4. Wow, Katha. That’s amazing. I have no words. (Except for these, of course.) I’m just blown away by the two sides doing it like that.

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