Happy Indigenous Peoples’ Day!

We would like to share a nice song about Indigenous Peoples’ Day. Although the video title says the song is for kids, it is actually good for everybody because it teaches history with many new or old names and vocabulary through its lyrics. Enjoy the video!

Do you want to know why we celebrate Indigenous Peoples’ Day instead of Columbus Day?

“There was nothing to discover,” said Heather Bruegl, cultural affairs director for the Stockbridge-Munsee Community of Mohican Indians, a nation with Hudson Valley roots that was pushed into Wisconsin.

“It’s not like they were lost,” she said. “There were people already here. In our community, we like to joke and say that we discovered Henry Hudson off our shores.”

Columbus landed in the Caribbean and never made it to what is now the United States, but that didn’t necessarily matter for his significance to this country, Feinman said. 

“He was always recognized as being the one who opened the Western hemisphere to all the people who came afterward,” he said. “That was a historically significant act.”

But it wasn’t an act that people with indigenous heritage typically celebrate, Bruegl said. Treating it as one, especially in schools, can have a detrimental effect on students who aren’t of European descent.

“Settler colonialism definitely plagues our history that is taught in schools, unfortunately,” she said. “It’s a Eurocentric history that we’re taught, so if you’re an indigenous student, if you are a student of color, you don’t see yourself in that history. I think it hinders the learning process.”

from Columbus Day still rules across New York, where Indigenous Peoples Day has been slow to catch on

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Today Is Juneteenth!

Today is a special holiday in the United States. Read the article below and watch the video above to learn more about Juneteenth and then when you’re ready take the quiz to test your understanding! (Remember when watching videos you can slow it down by going to the Settings and changing the Playback Speed!)

From CNBC.com:

Juneteenth is a 155-year-old holiday celebrating the emancipation of African-Americans from slavery in the U.S. It is celebrated on June 19 (the name is a combination of the words “June” and “nineteenth”) because on that date in 1865, Major General Gordon Granger of the Union Army landed in Galveston, Texas and informed slaves that the Civil War had ended and slavery had been abolished.

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Manahatta to Manhattan

Here’s a great reading booklet from the Smithsonian National Museum of the American Indian about the first New Yorkers

The Lenape, Manhattan’s original inhabitants,  called the island Manahatta, which means “hilly island.”

Rich with natural resources, Manahatta had an abundance of fruits, nuts, birds, and animals. Fish and shellfish were plentiful and the ocean was full of seals, whales, and dolphins. Migrant birds flew to local marshes based on the available food supply or weather conditions.

The body of water off the coast of Lower Manhattan is an estuary, a place where saltwater from the Atlantic Ocean mixes with freshwater from the Hudson River. Estuaries are particularly good places for wildlife to live.

The Lenape called the Hudson River Shatemuc, meaning “the river that flows both ways,” because the river alternates its flow from north to south along with the Atlantic tides. Shatemuc was an important water route for the Lenape who traded with other Native people living in villages along its banks.

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