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Resources for Columbus Day

Oct 3 2011 Design drawing for stained glass window of Christopher Columbus, LoC

How do you prepare for Columbus Day (October 10)? Is it a day off for your students, just another school day, or a teachable moment? You may be tempted to leave the holiday alone in the classroom. It can bring up issues related to colonization and colonialism, global contact, the definition of heroism, and the purpose of holidays—and that's just scratching the surface.

But it also presents an opportunity to discuss and explore these issues, and to ask what we know about history. How do we know about Columbus's voyages? About the man himself? About the lands and peoples he encountered? What primary sources passed this information down to the present day, and who created them? What information and viewpoints are missing? How have views of Columbus and his voyage changed over time? What materials record those changing views? When was Columbus Day first celebrated as a holiday?

Detail, spotlight page

We've gathered all of our resources on Columbus, Columbus Day, and his voyages in one Columbus Day Spotlight page to help you and your students answer these questions and more. Take a look at Learning Resources for primary and secondary sources, Teaching Resources for strategies from other teachers, and Quizzes to test your knowledge!

(And remember, the 9/11 and Constitution Day spotlights are still available. We'll continue to add new resources to all of our spotlights throughout the year, so bookmark them and check back frequently. Keep your eye out for new spotlights on Veterans Day and Thanksgiving next month!)

Well first of all, I believe

Well first of all, I believe Columbus day 2011 is October 10 and not October 3. Secondly, I recommend that students and others learn (or be reminded) that Columbus and his accomplices committed mass genocide on the Native American peoples they encountered. He may have been a good explorer, but was a despicable human being not worthy of praise or admiration.

Hey, the first line of the

Hey, the first line of the article states that Columbus Day IS on October 10. October 3 was the posting of the article. Columbus was a product of his time. Europeans (rightly or wrongly) did not view the natives as human...just another resource to be exploited. I'm not saying that it was good...clearly, it wasn't. The act was indeed despicable, but it should be viewed through the glasses of the beliefs of the time. Now, we realize how wrong his (and countless others') treatment of native peoples was. Unfortunately, all we have to do is look to other cultures to see it all happening again...Somalia, Iraq...etc.

"accomplices committed mass

"accomplices committed mass genocide on the Native American" - No he was welcomed and they were already in slaving one another and killing of one tribe or another as they please anyway...

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