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1 Introduction The mission of this book is to change how historians teach U.S. history. Repeatedly, we hear faculty proclaim that they would include Indians if they were more central to mainstream history. This book is a resource that should help college teachers see the connections between American Indian history and the entirety of American history and enable them to recast their survey history classes from this vantage point. We hope that readers will find strategies in this book for incorporating Indian experiences and perspectives more fully in how we teach and study U.S. history and that it will serve as a touchstone for more public debate about the purpose and content of American history courses as they are currently taught. Until recently, historians commonly wrote about and taught U.S. history as if Indians did not exist, or, at best, they marginalized Indian people as unimportant actors in the national drama of revolution and democratic state formation. In the past few decades, scholarship in Native American and indigenous studies has witnessed remarkable growth, and works in Native history now reach a broader audience and have greater influence than ever before. Courses in Native American history have become common offerings in college curriculums, and most U.S. history survey textbooks include at least some discussion of Native history. Thus, most college-level students who enroll in survey courses in U.S. history today do learn more about North America’s Native people than they would have twenty or thirty years ago. And yet college instruction in American history still tends to treat Indian history as a sidebar to Euro-American expansion. Indian material is most substantial early in the course, during the initial stages of European exploration. Students then follow European settlement across the continent, learning about how Native Americans succumbed to epidemic disease and were pushed off their lands by white settlers. Students rush through centuries, listening to lectures and reading textbooks, with little time to digest the significance and implications of these events and few opportunities to comprehend how this narrative of Native marginalization and disappearance relates to the present day. 2 Introduction In May 2013, the Newberry Library hosted a symposium to respond to the marginal effect Native American studies has had on the teaching of American history, and this volume is the result. The two-day symposium convened in Chicago in 2013 was not the first occasion scholars came together to discuss this issue. From 1984 to 1986, the Newberry Library’s D’Arcy McNickle Center for the History of the American Indian (now the D’Arcy McNickle Center for American Indian and Indigenous Studies) sponsored a series of conferences on “The Impact of Indian History on the Teaching of American History.”1 At gatherings in Chicago, Washington , and Los Angeles, participants presented papers that remarked upon Indian invisibility in U.S. history survey textbooks, Indian history as a narrative of declension, myths of extinction, the exclusion of Indians from modernity, and how metanarratives of a righteous nation built upon the principles of freedom, liberty, and justice left little room for Indian history, which by its very nature must report on and critique genocide, dispossession, and other colonizing practices that helped make the United States what it is today. The 2013 Newberry symposium thus revisited a long-standing dilemma but with a more purposeful objective to offer college teachers a toolbox of articles to help them transform their approach to the U.S. history survey course. It was a productive and exciting conference to attend with leading scholars in Native American studies offering their expertise and insights as presenters, commentators, and audience members. Participants recognized that a complete overhaul of the U.S. history survey course would be a huge undertaking. Some members of the audience wanted American history as taught in K–12 classrooms to be considered as well. Others envisioned development of a website where syllabi or lesson plans could be posted. All these proposals seemed worthy and perhaps someday will see fruition, but our immediate goal was to propel the conversation forward with a handbook designed explicitly for teachers of U.S. history surveys at the college level. We selected papers from the conference that seemed best suited to help teachers reenvision or augment the survey as it is commonly taught. We anticipate that this book could be used in a variety of ways. Teachers could read the book from beginning to end as they plan their courses and put together...

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Additional Information

ISBN
9781469623368
Related ISBN
9781469621210
MARC Record
OCLC
907238489
Pages
352
Launched on MUSE
2015-07-23
Language
English
Open Access
No
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