Conquest or Westward Expansion?: Native Americans and the Stories We Tell

Continue reading “Conquest or Westward Expansion?: Native Americans and the Stories We Tell”

The Americas: A Free, Open Textbook in Progress

Continue reading “The Americas: A Free, Open Textbook in Progress”

Open Ended Social Studies has the chapters that your world history textbook is missing

What is the root cause of our world’s troubles?  

If you ask me, it’s not a trade imbalance or a terrorist threat.  If we’re talking about the problem that lies at the heart of everything, it’s got to be a severe, devastating lack of empathy – the ability to understand and share the feelings of another. Continue reading “Open Ended Social Studies has the chapters that your world history textbook is missing”

For educators: Create an illustrated glossary of Nahuatl/English loan words

When you’re teaching from many textbooks, it’s easy to think of native societies as “the other” – the Aztec are conquered and swept aside, if they’re mentioned at all, and they appear from the perspective of their conquerors.  They didn’t even call themselves the Aztec, for that matter – they referred to themselves as the Mexica, a name lent to the modern nation, and often excluded from your textbooks to prevent confusion between the two among students.   Continue reading “For educators: Create an illustrated glossary of Nahuatl/English loan words”

What if people told European history like they told Native American history?

An Indigenous History of North America

The first immigrants to Europe arrived thousands of years ago from central Asia. Most pre-contact Europeans lived together in small villages. Because the continent was very crowded, their lives were ruled by strict hierarchies within the family and outside it to control resources. Europe was highly multi-ethnic, and most tribes were ruled by hereditary leaders who commanded the majority “commoners.” These groups were engaged in near constant warfare.

Pre-contact Europeans wore clothing made of natural materials such as animal skin and plant and animal-based textiles. Women wore long dresses and covered their hair, and men wore tunics and leggings. Both men and women liked to wear jewelry made from precious stones and metals as a sign of status. Before contact, Europeans had very poor diets. Most people were farmers and grew wheat and vegetables and raised cows and sheep to eat. They rarely washed themselves, and had many diseases because…

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The Aztec: Life Under the Fifth Sun in Old Mexico

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Popcorn paved the way for the Aztec Empire

In the beginning, there was teosinte, the wild ancestor of modern corn.  Its kernels are too tough to eat or grind into flour.  It was consumed not as corn on the cob or as a torilla, but instead as popcorn.   Continue reading “Popcorn paved the way for the Aztec Empire”