The observance of Columbus Day is the outgrowth of a whitewashed history, perpetuated in public discourse and in our schools, where native and nonnative children, from the earliest age, are taught simplistic, incomplete and inaccurate information about American Indians. Think back to your own childhood. Were you taught that Pocahontas saved Captain John Smith or that “the first Thanksgiving” celebrated a lasting peace between the Pilgrims and the Wampanoag?

These simplistic and incomplete narratives do much to obscure our understanding of American history. These narratives, in turn, influence government policies and shape how nonnatives respond to their Native American neighbors. The harm from ignorance and stereotypes continues to be visited on American Indian children.

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