The Inauguration of Joe Biden

The inauguration of Joe Biden as the 46th President of the United States of America and Kamala Harris as Vice President was held at the United States Capitol yesterday, January 20th, 2021. Let’s listen to Joe Biden’s inaugural address and learn English.

My fellow Americans, we have to be different than this. America has to be better than this, and I believe America is so much better than this. Just look around here. We stand in the shadow of the Capitol dome as was mentioned earlier completed amid the Civil War when the Union itself was literally hanging in the balance.

Yet we endured, we prevailed. Here we stand, looking out on the great mall where Dr. King spoke of his dream. Here we stand where, 108 years ago, at another inaugural, thousands of protesters tried to block brave women marching for the right to vote, and today we mark the swearing-in of the first woman in American history elected to national office, Vice President Kamala Harris.

Don’t tell me things can’t change. Here we stand across the Potomac from Arlington Cemetery where heroes who gave the last full measure of devotion rest in eternal peace, and here we stand just days after a riotous mob thought they could use violence to silence the will of the people, to stop the work of our democracy, to drive us from this sacred ground. It did not happen; it will never happen, not today, not tomorrow, not ever. Not ever.

To all of those who supported our campaign, I am humbled by the faith you have placed in us. To all of those who did not support us, let me say this: Hear me out as we move forward, take a measure of me and my heart. If you still disagree, so be it. That’s democracy, that’s America. The right to dissent peaceably within the guardrails of our republic is perhaps this nation’s greatest strength. Yet hear me clearly: Disagreement must not lead to disunion, and I pledge this to you: I will be a president for all Americans, all Americans.

And I promise you I will fight as hard for those who did not support me as for those who did.

Click here to read the full inauguration speech transcript!

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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

Please click here to read more!

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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.

Read more…

Click here to take the quiz!

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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.

To read more, click here.

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