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Revealing American History

By Elizabeth Rich — October 08, 2007 1 min read

In one of their recent Web-resource offerings, Teaching Tolerance asks, “Why Teach about Native America?” To most, the answer by now is fairly obvious—particularly with Columbus Day being such a charged “holiday” and Native American Heritage Month just a few weeks away.


The site refers to the Public Agenda’s recent study, Walking A Mile, which reports “large gaps in knowledge and viewpoint between Native Americans and non-Native Americans.” Teaching Tolerance points to one of the study’s findings: that both Native and non-Natives “support more education about historical and contemporary issues affecting America’s first peoples.”

As a teacher, how can you bring a more meaningful discussion of Native America into your classroom? Teaching Tolerance offers classroom activities, including discussion prompts like, “What are the key areas where Indian and non-Indian views differ?” and “What’s in a mascot?” Suggested professional development “reflections” challenge educator resources: What are you using to teach about Native America? Is the material dated? Does it include stereotyped portrayals? Are treaty rights explained?

Teaching Tolerance suggests a number of good resource links, including Understanding Prejudice, which allows you to “Test your Native IQ.”

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