9 Teaching Resources That Tell the Truth About Columbus

Wikimedia Commons This painting by Constantino Brumidi is called "Columbus and the Indian Maiden."

Indian Country Today

The times they are a-changing for Christopher Columbus

Finding good teaching materials for Columbus Day is like searching for a needle in a haystack. States and cities are increasingly recognizing Indigenous Peoples, but appropriate and readily available lesson plans have fallen behind the trend.

The times they are a-changing for Christopher Columbus. In 1990, only three states failed to honor the genocidal and delusional navigator. The word is getting out, though, and this year, 16 states will not celebrate him. One by one, cities are also taking matters into their own hands. Seattle will now recognize Indigenous Peoples’ Day, following Minneapolis and San Francisco.

RELATED: Indigenous Leaders Celebrate Victory Over Columbus Day in Seattle

But still, even reputable organizations like the National Education Association don’t offer a single online Columbus Day lesson plan we’d recommend. There are a few decent videos out there, but most of them say Natives came from Asia. Others gloss over the genocide as if worried about the delicate ears of the children they teach. But is it the children or the adults who feel the need to insulate their thin-skinned patriotism?

Consider the thoughts of Wisconsin high school student, Savana Stuhl, 17, who said, “I was probably in fifth grade when my mom told me about Columbus. At first I didn’t believe her because at school he was called a hero, he found America, he came here first. Then my mother read me a book about the true story that he wasn’t the first one here.” Stuhl now feels even very young children should be told the truth. “I think younger kids could handle it. It is important they know he wasn’t a hero.”

In Prescott, Wisconsin, AP History teacher Jeff Ryan agrees. “I would argue that anyone who thinks students aren’t capable of weighing different perspectives, boy that’s a dangerous way to think,” he said. Ryan’s lesson plans include the writings of Friar Bartolome Las Casas, who detailed the atrocities after Columbus’s arrival in horrific detail.

Describing the resistance of some people to accept the truth, Ryan said, “If factual information is so brand new, something they have never heard before, and if it is the opposite of what they believe, then they think it is biased. The challenge as a teacher is not about trying to change minds. It is about opening minds, and doing it rationally.”

In Wisconsin, ACT 31 makes Native Studies mandatory. “And it is filtering its way into primary and elementary grade levels,” Ryan said. I have an 8-year-old who came back from her first grade class—she told me, ‘You know Columbus was an explorer, but he did some really bad things. He did mean things to the Native people.’”

In this new era of honesty in history, where can teachers go for good information? We came up with a list of nine resources: good ideas, books and one lesson plan that work even for very young children.

Rethinking Columbus

The most highly recommended reading, by Oyate.org and American Indian Children’s Literature, is Rethinking Columbus. The book offers this summary: “…the Columbus myth is a foundation of children’s beliefs about society. Columbus is often a child’s first lesson about encounters between different cultures and races. The murky legend of a brave adventurer tells children whose version of history to accept, and whose to ignore. It says nothing about the brutality of the European invasion of North America.” Writings from N. Scott Momaday, Cornell Pewewardy, Barb Munson, Rosalie Little Thunder, Winona LaDuke and many more. It is a readily available source that offers a real Native perspective.

Wikimedia Commons

A whitetail deer in winter.

Putting Columbus on Trial

Teachers in McDonald, Pennsylvania, celebrated Columbus Day by putting Columbus on trial, where students gave Columbus a life sentence of imprisonment. In Texas, students learned not only of the import/export trade of gold and jewels, but also of smallpox blankets.

Lies My Teacher Told Me

Lies My Teacher Told Me About Christopher Columbus, What Your History Books Got Wrong by James W. Loewen, is the perfect antidote for teachers who want to show not only the truth about Columbus, but see a chart showing how textbook historians have hidden the truth from students. It’s a double lesson that teaches about Columbus and encourages students to do their research.

Wikimedia Commons

A whitetail deer in winter.

The American Discovery of Europe

For high school students, the book The American Discovery of Europe by Jack D. Forbes presents the refreshing news that Natives were already traveling the world, and were met in Ireland and other countries more than a decade before Columbus arrived on these shores.

Wikimedia Commons

A whitetail deer in winter.


There was not one YouTube video about Columbus that was found to be suitable. Avoid them. The only decent video we found was on the paid subscription site Brain Pop. The video, activities, and additional reading on The Columbian Exchange do more than gloss over the subject of Natives, and gives serious weight to the genocide and slavery.

Columbus Day Books

There are two books, both named Columbus Day, that are suitable for young children. One by Holiday Histories and the other by Vicki Liestman. They are not thorough, but are fair.

Wikimedia Commons

A whitetail deer in winter.

Wikimedia Commons

A whitetail deer in winter.

Columbus’s Journals

Columbus’s journals offer many ideas for lesson plans. Exploring stereotypes, cultural norms, religious freedom, are all lessons that could be drawn from his journals.


Showing students a slideshow of anti-Columbus Day protests by modern day Natives shows mainstream children that indigenous people are still here and have strong feelings about the celebration.

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RELATED: War on Columbus

Two Perspectives

Columbus Day From Two Perspectives offers students in grades 4-6 an opportunity to learn about what happened to the Taino people who suffered at the hands of Columbus and his men. The Lesson Plan website even asks for Columbus Day lesson plan submissions, admitting they only have a very few.

“The truth shouldn’t be hidden. Instead of hiding it, people should be able to learn from it,” said Anton Wazlawik, 17, a senior at Prescott High School in Wisconsin. “I feel grateful that our school hasn’t censored that information. Instead of tempers flaring, we should look at the facts. There are too many people who feel their way is the only.”

Comments (6)
No. 1-6

I would like to see Columbus Day gone completely in all fifty states. Especially here in New York City, of Brooklyn, Queens, Staten Island, Manhattan, and The Bronx. I would like to see this day become either Native American Day. Or Indengenous Peoples Day. And Native American studies be taught in schools. But being a resident in Brooklyn, New York. The Knights of Columbus have a strong hold here in New City.


Thank you so much for this. I was into this iss https://mxplayer.pro/ ue and tired to tinker around to check if its possible but couldnt get it done. Now that i have seen the way you did it, thanks guys


There was even such an interesting story about the Colombian exchange, which took place with Europe and Latin America. It is quite an interesting event, which actually already then determined the priorities of one or another country and they have not changed in many aspects so far. I wrote about this essay just the other day, but I didn't know much, they just asked me this at the university, fortunately I found samples of essays on the topic of the Colombian exchange https://studydriver.com/columbian-exchange-essay/ , it is quite interesting and at the same time very deep, the history is actually intertwined very closely. I hope this was useful for you as well. Good luck.


Those are not resources, and they don’t tell the truth about Columbus. They repeat leftist agitprop about the grandfather of our country! These resources tell the truth about Columbus:

Columbus The Hero, Columbus and the Catholic Church, And Columbus Day vs.Indigenous People's Day by Rafael

A Patriot's History of the United States and 48 Liberal Lies about American History by Larry Schweikart

History's Greatest Libels by Steve Byas

Debunking Howard Zinn by Mary Grabar

Why the Left Hates America by Dan Flynn

Samuel Eliot Morison's The Admiral of the Ocean Sea















The War on Columbus is a war on America! Lefties want people to think that America was born evil, and needs to be fundamentally transformed into a collectivist utopia! Which wouldn’t be a utopia but a dystopia, as are all communist and socialist states! Over fifty percent of Americans support Columbus Day! State and colleges and cities that have canceled him and his holiday are either caving to neomarxist agitprop or are controlled by leftists who are abusing their power!


apelbaumthebull, I would like to see leftism gone in all fifty states. I’d also like to see the government defunded. That way you and the hammer-and-sickle brigade can’t indoctrinate people in schools and colleges anymore! More importantly, you can’t succeed in your radical agenda of bringing communism to America and taking away People’s individual rights and freedoms. You leftist lemmings won’t stop with Columbus Day, you get rid of the constitution, the American flag, thanksgiving, the Washington memorial, Jefferson memorial, Independence Day, the police, the pledge, the Declaration of Independence Day, businesses, and free enterprise. Your goal is to purge all symbols of freedom and pride in America. You guys probably want to put up statues of your own icons like Che Guevara, whose crimes you are curiously silent about!


ApelBaumTheBull, Native Americans and indigenous people committed all the same crimes as Columbus. They wiped out entire tribes, sacrificed people, cannibalized them, took war captives as slaves, hunted species to extinction, mutilated enemies, raped women and girls, clears forests, and engaged in unprovoked attacks against European settlers! Why would you want to celebrate that? And why do you hate Columbus but not them?!