Kaitlyn’s School of Thought: We need to abandon our Eurocentric education


Kaitlyn Edwards

In her weekly column, Kaitlyn’s School of Thought, Norse Notes’ Kaitlyn Edwards shares her opinions surrounding all topics about being a high school student and academic issues.

With Thanksgiving coming up soon, many people are preparing to celebrate the holiday and give thanks to all those around them. However, one of the largest topics on my mind has been the erasure of Native American history in American curriculum, and specifically, in California’s social science curriculum.

My largest memories from elementary school include learning about the history of missions in California. The teachers that I had did not tell the entire truth while teaching my class about them. They only taught us from the view of the Christian Americans that forced the Native Americans to convert to their religion and to their lifestyles. 

By doing so, much of the class believed that what the Christians did during this time was justified and beneficial for society. I will admit that I was one of those people who believed the missionaries were correct in doing so at that age. 

However, looking back, I realized that this view of American history is limited. We did not look at how badly the Native Americans were treated; we solely looked at how much these missions benefitted the Christian Americans that dominated over the Native Americans.

In order to counteract this limited viewpoint, schools implement reading books like “Island of the Blue Dolphins.” However, that was all they did. We built missions though, in order to celebrate the “achievements” of the missionaries and just focus on the perspective of the missionaries. 

Elementary schools omitted that the missions in California were trying to erase the history of the Native Americans because they didn’t fit their ideals, causing students to not realize the harms that the Christians did to the Native American population.

When students start to learn about the horrific actions that occurred against the Native Americans, usually many years later, they are often confused because they were taught that what the white Americans did was beneficial for all those involved. After learning the true circumstances from multiple perspectives, many students ask questions about why history is skewed to make Western cultures idealized and celebrated.

Although schools want us to be empathetic and great thinkers in a modern world, students are at a disadvantage because they see American history from just one perspective at a young age. This causes them to have a biased opinion of history throughout the education, and often beyond their school years. The erasure of Native American history will only continue to worsen unless students see more historical perspectives starting in elementary school.