Sept 2021: Hispanic Heritage Month and Indigenous Peoples’ Day

Happy Fall! Late this summer we collaborated with some local educators to participate in the Teach Truth Pledge Days of Action. Educators from around the country gathered at local sites to pledge to teach truth in their classrooms. The autumnal holidays of Columbus Day, Indigenous People’s Day, and Thanksgiving epitomize the challenge we face as educators to break away from traditional narratives and instead teach the complicated but accurate history of our nation.  This month, we are sharing resources about Columbus Day and Indigenous People’s Day as well as resources to commemorate Hispanic Heritage Month because we have to remember to balance stories of trauma with celebrations of diverse joy! Please scroll through to the end for an invitation to a special event next week.

Hispanic Heritage Month
  • Who Put The ‘Hispanic’ In Hispanic Heritage Month? A 2017episode of the Code Switch Podcast from NPR helps connect the timing of this special month to independence from Spain of many Latin American countries and the complicated connections to colonization.
  • Bibi. This short film from Learning For Justice explores intersectional identities. Learning for Justice not only provides a link to the film but also a 3 lessons with versions for both middle and high school students as well as a zoom conversation with members of the cast.
  • National Hispanic Heritage Month. This official government site provides a compilation of resources for all ages sourced from various governmental bodies including The Smithsonian, The National Archives, and The National Endowment for the Humanities.
  • All About the Holidays. A short informative video appropriate for most age groups that could be used as a launch activity for further exploration.
  • Latino Americans. This set of resources for all ages from PBS Learning Media provides videos and lessons plans on a large range of topics.
Columbus Day and Indigenous Peoples Day
  • Learn and share the native land you inhabit. We shared this last month but it’s worth a revisit. Use this resource to learn the indigenous land for any given address.
  • Through the Smithsonian’s National Museum of the American Indian (NYC and DC), Smithsonian Magazine shares “Indigenous Peoples’ Day: Rethinking How We Celebrate American History,” which traces the holiday from the first documented observance of Columbus Day in 1792 and the 1934 official recognition as a holiday in 1937, the first time it was made a federal holiday in 1972, and the U.N. response with Indigenous Peoples’ Day in 1977. They work through the mythology of Columbus and the states and municipalities that have transitioned from Columbus to Native Americans.
  • Why do We Still Celebrate Columbus Day. This lesson plan from Learning For Justice is aimed at middle school students and contains materials and a lesson guide.
Saratoga Specifically.
  • “Saratoga” is an Anglicized version of the Mohawk “se-rach-ta-gue,” or “hillside country of the quiet river.” If you want imagery or specifics about Indigenous life in Saratoga after colonization, the blog “Iroquois Beadwork” has stereographs, photographs and ephemera of Native encampments and participation in tourism at the turn of the twentieth century.