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Rethinking Explorers

Updated: Oct 8, 2018

My first-grade son recently came home with a writing prompt for homework: "If I was an explorer...." In support of fostering independent thought, I sat patiently while he finished writing his ending ".....I will look for dinosaur bones in caves." Then we discussed other possible endings:

"....I would respect the people I met and the land I touched."

"....I would not hurt anyone."

"....I would go to space."


This is only the beginning, as we look over a 4-page activity packet about Columbus and I fear/get angry-in-advance over the paper head dresses and pilgrim hats I foresee next month. With this in mind, and for Indigenous People's Day on October 8, here are resources to start conversations, ask questions, celebrate and critique with our children, families and classrooms for the un-schooling of Columbus Day and Thanksgiving.


Rethinking Columbus from Rethinking Schools


Reconsider Columbus Day from Teaching Tolerance


A Racial Justice Guide to Thanksgiving for Educators and Families compiled by Border Crossers


Books for children and families:

#IndigenousReads by Indigenous Writers: A Children's Reading List

Encounter, by Jane Yolen

Morning Girl, by Michael Dorris

We are Grateful: Otsaliheliga, by Traci Sorell

Squanto's Journey, by Michael Bruchac





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