Squanto, or whitewashing history (xpost)

(This is crossposted from uncharted learning, the resource list I run for homeschoolers and educators.)

One of my bigger annoyances about history classes is the way we leave complex emotions and complex people outside of history. Instead, we clean them up into two-dimensional cutouts. I really believe this makes history less interesting for students of all ages, and definitely makes us feel less able to live up to their example.

Squanto is one such example. This Weekly Reader interactive story of his life:

http://www.weeklyreader.com/interactivestories/squanto.html

is cute, but leaves out the big reason why he could speak English. He had been a slave. Censoring important details like that cheapen any respect that might be paid. Here is a more factual history of this very important Native American.

http://www.nativeamericans.com/Squanto.htm

Our job – as parents and teachers – is not to omit parts of history, but to make all of it accessible for our children. That way, when they are thankful for the efforts and sacrifices of those who came before us, they are actually paying respect to reality.

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