Columbus Day to Indigenous Peoples Day? Legislators examine whether change is in order

Jan 27, 2021 457


When Rep. Stephanie Byers' son was in grade school, his teacher asked if the Wichita Democrat, a member of the Chickasaw Nation, could come present about how Native Americans view Thanksgiving.  Byers recalled the teacher asked her to discuss how the Pilgrims brought new farming techniques to share with their indigenous brethren and "save them."

"I paused and looked at her and said, 'Ma'am, that's not how that happened. That's backwards,' " Byers recalled Tuesday. The veteran teacher was apologetic and said she had been teaching Thanksgiving through that lens for years. It underscored for Byers the need to broaden Kansans' awareness of native peoples and to honor their history, culture and resilience. 

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