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Indigenous People's Day

The Huffington Post The Huffington Post 13/10/2015 Yasmina Blackburn
INDIANCHIEF © Getty INDIANCHIEF

A number of U.S. cities are replacing Columbus Day with a new name, Indigenous People's Day. From Seattle to Minneapolis and even Bexar County, Texas -- things are changing.
I was raised on the 1970s Chicago Public School system's "Melting Pot" social studies book that celebrated Christopher Columbus. I now join the throngs of activists raising awareness about our white-washed history.
When you show up at someone's door, you don't discover their home. You show up at their home. Chris was a traveler who took a chance. When he showed up at someone else's home, he became part and parcel to a campaign of genocide, slavery, rape and colonialism that is the history of how we all eventually got here to the United States. I'm embarrassed for this history even though my parents were born abroad and I'm a first generation American. I'm still American and it's part of my history. I can't change the past but I can be realistic about the past.
My kids are sleeping in this morning in honor of Columbus Day. When they wake up, I'm going to give them a history lesson before we embark to the pumpkin patch for some fall, family bonding time. I'm going to remind them that this country was built on genocide. And that millions of indigenous people were slaughtered and now make up only two percent of the population.
To the best of my ability, I will teach my children truth. It's already working. My daughter stood up to her social studies teacher last year and schooled him on the Middle East when the account presented in class was wrong. And the teacher corrected himself and thanked her. I teach my children to critically think. I teach them to never take the information given to them as fact -- but to take it in and think about it in terms of other information they have stored in their little noggins and other information they have available to them -- before they enjoin information into their souls as acceptable to them. Every piece of information floating around the world has an agenda attached to it. Teaching our children about trying to understand the agenda is half the battle. It doesn't even matter if they never understand the agenda, but knowing there is one will help them to be free thinkers.
I celebrate Indigenous People's Day today by writing this blog post so that maybe it will show up in someone's Google search some day. I celebrate Indigenous People's Day today by teaching the next generation in my charge the reality of the world we live in- and then enjoying their presence in my life today, outdoors, thanking God for His great bounty.

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