Monday, September 05, 2005


being a homeschooler i long pondered how i would teach history. clearly it needs to be taught but i did not want to teach the history i learned. to convey some blind allegiance to what men want to believe but the historical record does not bear out. neither do i want to teach history the way i learned it. i wanted some text, some representation of the complexities of the founding of america. i have yet to find that text.

i am dealing with a child here and while the atrocities of tribal battles, the horrors of nazism, the chaos of church-wars in europe are subjects we can deal with at a later date, we are beginning a study of the history of this land we live on.

so what i have begun doing is annotating the text with my daughter. she reads the history text to me and we discuss it. there are some things a simple word change will do: native americans thought of themselves as sovereign nations. we line out thought and put, think. easy enough.

but there are some irredeemable passages we simply line through and try to purge from our minds:
Because [indians] didn't have the Bible, which tells us about the one true God, they worshipped many false gods. Their worship of false gods kept them from advancing the way europeans had.

how do you redeem such grievious errors in thought and logic? True enough there was no Bible in the new world, i let that stand. but i cannot ever be convinced God is not large enough to reveal Himself to peoplegroups without europeans. somehow europe became indispensible to God and salvation. i don't understand it. it breaks my heart to think children are still being taught this. then attributing the lack of a european Bible/worshipping false gods to keeping tribal people from advancing "the way europeans had."

in one passage america is deemed a wilderness because it lacked cities and cultivation. but that manifest destiny thinking is so off base. clearly the authors have never seen photos of anasazi cliff dwellings or navajo hogans. clearly it never occurred to them that european civilzation is not the ultimate.

get this line:

the history of america as we know it actually began in europe.


i have walked around homeschool conferences asking, do you have anything less european? and the vendors (typically white--i cannot recall one minority vendor) stare at me like i'm insane.

i think, when this is all said and done, i will have a history book that genuinely lays out in non-inflammatory language, remember i am teaching my child, the history of this land we live on. taking into account the great nations which existed before the first boats arrived. before the gold-grabbing began. before the treaties were violated.

i hope also to be able to convey to my daughter that europeans, americans for that matter don't have a corner on the righteousness market. God doesn't need us. He doesn't need you or me to convey the depth and breadth of who He is to any peoplegroup. and i refuse to believe He would let myriad nations live and die without access to the Way, the Truth and the Life. He has made a way. we simply have not comprehended it. and i for one, am unwilling to condemn all these many nations to hell for my ethnic pride.

1 comment:

TS said...

The difficulty with history is that it always comes with bias. You cannot get around it, but of course you identify it, and that changes things.