How will these resources help you?
It is hard to teach the other side of the Columbus story because victors write the history: there is no record of Taíno viewpoints. We can use non-fiction books that compare the experiences of Columbus and other European explorers with those of indigenous Americans. Fiction titles provide the Taíno perspective missing from the historical record. We can also draw on other accounts of first contact between Europeans and indigenous Americans, such as the well-known story of Pocahontas in Virginia. You could introduce the debate with these online resources: Was Columbus a Hero or Villain? and Why Columbus Day Courts Controversy.
European age of exploration and indigenous societies
Christopher Columbus and the Age of Exploration for Kids
by Ronald A. Reis, published by Chicago Review Press, (2013), 9781613746745
A Taíno perspective
by Jane Yolen, published by Cengage Learning, (1996), 9780152013899
This fiction title is based on historical fact. You can use it help children to understand the Taíno viewpoint and how it might influence their views about Columbus’ impact. This imaginative telling of the story is popular among educators; although aimed at primary readers, it provides a useful perspective for Key Stage 3 pupils.
A European cabin boy and a Taíno woman
Darkness They Could Not See
by Ronald Costello, published by Gold Sun Publishing, (2019), 9780988654969
Civilisations - Native American Indigenous Peoples
published by BBC, (2018)
Text © Cath Senker, 2020.