Rethinking Columbus is an outstanding book, offering readers the opportunity to develop and apply critical thinking skills to events--like Columbus Day--that carry bias in favor of one viewpoint, at the expense of the viewpoint and perspective of others.
When Rethinking Columbus was removed from the classrooms in Tucson, essays and poems by Native writers were also removed. Their essays and poems are in Rethinking Columbus. Among them are:
- Suzan Shown Harjo, who wrote "We Have No Reason to Celebrate"
- Buffy Sainte-Marie, who wrote "My Country, 'Tis of Thy People You're Dying"
- Joseph Bruchac, who wrote "A Friend of the Indians"
- Cornel Pewewardy, who wrote "A Barbie-Doll Pocahontas"
- N. Scott Momaday, who wrote "The Delight Song of Tsoai-Talee"
- Michael Dorris, who wrote "Why I'm Not Thankful for Thanksgiving"
- Leslie Marmon, who wrote "Ceremony"
- Wendy Rose, who wrote "Three Thousand Dollar Death Song"
- Winona LaDuke, who wrote "To the Women of the World: Our Future, Our Responsibility"
In addition to Rethinking Columbus and the Alexie and Zepeda books, over 50 other books were removed.
As TUSD administrators moved forward in shutting down the Mexican American Studies courses, they prevented students from reading Sherman Alexie's Ten Little Indians and The Lone Ranger and Tonto Fistfight in Heaven, and Ofelia Zepeda's Ocean Power.
The teachers who taught in the program were reassigned and no longer called Mexican American Studies teachers. As they created new syllabi, they were also told they could not teach from a Mexican American Studies perspective.
But, I wonder... Are teachers who were not previously teaching in the Mexican American Studies classes teaching Rethinking Columbus this year? Or Alexie? Or Zepeda?