Lately, much is being said about bias in the news. Bias is everywhere—even in the history books. Sadly, American history books leave out many of the facts about Native Americans and the atrocities of the colonization process. Native Hope Ambassador Kansas Middletent recently spoke to a group of public school students, and here is a little of the conversation that happened in the classroom.
Question: How many Native Americans inhabited North America prior to 1492?
U.S. History students’ responses: “I don’t know 10,000; under a million; 100,000; no clue..."
Correct Answer: There were 10-15 million—perhaps more.
U.S. History students’ responses: “What? Really? We were told the land was a wilderness."
Question: How many Native Americans lived in North America in 1880?
Correct Answer: The U.S. census indicates that there were 306,000 Native Americans in 1890.
Question: What happened?
U.S. History students’ responses: The students were stunned; finally, one student said, "Extinction.”
Native Hope aims to create awareness of the untold history of Native America in order to develop more understanding about the animosity between Natives and non-Natives.
When the request came to speak to Elizabeth Renbarger and Carissa Vanderley’s 11th grade U.S. History class about Native Americans and the civil rights movement, Native Hope welcomed the opportunity.
Kansas Middletent and Trisha Burke, Native Hope staff members, presented to the students this week sharing information on historical events and their correlation to Martin Luther King Jr.’s call for civil rights for all people.
Native Americans are often misrepresented as either the savages of the Wild West or the impoverished activists fighting for lost rights. Thankfully, there is a rising interest in the facts and how these realities affect Indian country today.
Please contact Native Hope if you are interested in having these types of discussions in your classroom, club, or organization and schedule one of our ambassadors to speak in your area.