10 resources to accurately provide Indigenous people’s history from Tribal College Journal

Indigenous Peoples’ History: An Annotated Bibliography

Teaching American Indian history, or history in general, has transformed dramatically over the past 20 years. Much of this is due to technological advancements such as PowerPoint, online resources, and web platforms such as Blackboard. But in large part it is also due to our changing perspectives on the past. The one truism to remember when teaching history is that all history is revisionism.

Our present-day realities shape the way we think about the past and interpret historical trends and figures. All too often, wide-eyed freshmen (and many others) cling to the notion that somehow history is a social science. Many institutions place the field in the social sciences department, right alongside psychology, sociology, and anthropology. It’s true that history is based on a set of facts and events that are unchangeable. For example, Christopher Columbus’ three ships—the Niña, Pinta, and Santa Maria—landed on an island in what is today the Bahamas in the year 1,492 of the Gregorian calendar. But our interpretation of those facts changes dramatically from generation to generation. Years ago, many people learned that Columbus “discovered” America and that the world changed for the better because of it, a belief held so strongly that the United States has a federal holiday commemorating the man. Today, I would venture to guess that very few college-level instructors teach this interpretation of Columbus and his voyage. While all may not portray him as a man driven by greed who committed countless atrocities, most at least complicate the narrative and point out that there is more than one story about Columbus.

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