Teaching the History of Human Rights

Posted by Kaitlin Smith on December 2, 2021

"Where, after all, do human rights begin? In small places close to home-so close and
so small that they cannot be seen on any map of the world." Eleanor Roosevelt

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Topics: Human Rights, Universe of Obligation

More Than Monsters: The Deeper Significance of Wendigo Stories

Posted by Kaitlin Smith on November 30, 2021

One does not need to delve very deeply into the annals of American film, television, and literature to find an array of caricatured depictions of Native American peoples and a distortion of their knowledge. One recurring theme across these storytelling mediums is the use of the “wendigo”also spelled “wétiko”a monstrous figure from Algonquian mythology who exhibits an insatiable greed along with a desire for human flesh. From Stephen King’s Pet Sematary to the television series Hanibal, the flesh-eating image of the wendigo is often presented apart from its original cultural contexts where it carries deep moral significance. The latest addition to this lineup of wendigo tales is Scott Cooper and Guillermo del Toro’s horror film Antlers (2021) in which a Native American character provides some brief exposition before the story centered around a white community contending with the monster begins in earnest. Though these misrepresentations of the wendigo beg for critical interrogation, the wendigo stories of Algonquian peoples offer a window into the endurance of cultural resources used to transmit significant moral values, and underscore the power of Native people using these stories to engage in social critique.

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Topics: Film, Indigenous, Native Americans

20 Teacher Resources on Native American History and Culture

Posted by Kaitlin Smith on November 26, 2021

Here at Facing History, we see heritage and awareness months as opportunities to deepen our knowledge of and attention to the histories and contemporary experiences of historically marginalized communities. However, the focus on celebrating these communities over one particular month can further marginalize the very experiences we are hoping to elevate. With this in mind, what follows is an invitation to engage with important themes raised by Native American Heritage Month this November and throughout all of the months of the year.

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Topics: Indigenous, Native Americans

The Power of Native Language Revitalization

Posted by Kaitlin Smith on November 24, 2021

Since the announcement of the Federal Indian Boarding School Initiative by U.S. Secretary of the Interior Deb Haaland in June 2021, there has been increased public attention to the legacy of 18th and 19th-century government-run schools used to “kill the Indian to save the man” in the words of one school master. The use of these boarding schools was one significant component of an attempt at cultural genocide of Native peoplesone in which children were forcibly removed from their homes and deposited in schools where they were violently socialized into the norms of settler colonial culture and its official language: English. Despite the force of these authorities, Native American communities resisted attempts at cultural genocide and continue to resist into the present through a host of efforts. Alongside Secretary Haaland’s federal initiative, there are a number of grassroots efforts dedicated to healing the lasting wounds inflicted by these policies. Among them are a group of educational initiatives being led by Native people that engage in language revitalization as a form of decolonial education and healing. 

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Topics: Indigenous, Native Americans

7 Must-See Films on Native American History and Life

Posted by Kaitlin Smith on November 22, 2021

Here at Facing History, we see heritage and awareness months as opportunities to deepen our knowledge of and attention to the histories and contemporary experiences of historically marginalized communities. However, the focus on celebrating these communities over one particular month can further marginalize the very experiences we are hoping to elevate. With this in mind, what follows is an invitation to engage with important themes raised by Native American Heritage Month
this November and throughout all of the months of the year.

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Topics: Indigenous, Native Americans

4 Virtual Events to Learn + Celebrate Native American Heritage

Posted by Kaitlin Smith on November 18, 2021

Here at Facing History, we see heritage and awareness months as opportunities to deepen our knowledge of and attention to the histories and contemporary experiences of historically marginalized communities. However, the focus on celebrating these communities over one particular month can further marginalize the very experiences we are hoping to elevate. With this in mind, what follows is an invitation to engage with important themes raised by Native American Heritage Month this November and throughout all of the months of the year.

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Topics: Indigenous, Native Americans

5 Native-Led Podcasts for Media Literacy

Posted by Kaitlin Smith on November 15, 2021

Here at Facing History, we see heritage and awareness months as opportunities to deepen our attention to the histories and contemporary experiences of particular communities. However, we are cognizant of the significant limitations of educational approaches that limit engagement with these themes only to those times of the year. What follows is an invitation to engage with important themes raised by Native American Heritage Month this November and beyond.

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Topics: Indigenous, Native Americans

Teaching Settler Colonialism: Lessons from Canada

Posted by Kaitlin Smith on November 12, 2021

Photo Caption: Cree students at their desks with their teacher in a classroom, All Saints Indian Residential School, Lac La Ronge, Saskatchewan, March 1945 (Credit: Bud Glunz / National Film Board of Canada. Photothèque / PA-134110).

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Topics: Canada, Indigenous, Native Americans

5 New YA Books on Native American Lives

Posted by Kaitlin Smith on November 10, 2021

This November is Native American Heritage Month--a national observance that draws our attention to the histories, contemporary experiences, and insights of Indigenous peoples of the United States. As valuable as this heritage month can be for drawing increased attention to this area that demands greater attention in our classrooms and in the wider society, Native American Heritage Month also beckons to the importance of surfacing and centering these themes all year long. One common hurdle that undermines these efforts is the struggle to identify appropriate resources that are written by and about Native peoples with the adolescent in mind. There are a host of books and other materials that we can turn to as we construct lesson plans and recommend reading to our students, and what follows are five texts to consider.

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Topics: Indigenous, Native Americans

6 Indigenous-Led COP26 Events You Can Stream

Posted by Kaitlin Smith on November 5, 2021

The 26th U.N. Climate Change Conference of the Parties (COP26) is currently taking place in Glasgow, Scotland where an international group of academics, policymakers, artists, youth activists, and other grassroots visionaries are meeting to contend with the many dire challenges and collaborative opportunities posed by the ongoing climate crisis. News from the convening-in-progress reveals that more than forty countries have pledged to shift away from using coal and nearly 100 nations have pledged to cut methane emissions substantially in an effort to slow global heating. Alongside these significant top-down decisions that will reshape policy around the globe, the conference also features a host of presentations that speak to the place-based knowledge, local efforts, and fundamental mindset shifts that must accompany policy change. This year, many of these events are being led by Indigenous people and/or underscore Indigenous ways of conceiving of the natural world and its relationship to humanity.

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Topics: Indigenous, Native Americans

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Welcome to Facing Today, a Facing History blog. Facing History and Ourselves combats racism and antisemitism by using history to teach tolerance in classrooms around the globe.

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