You may be familiar with the ethical dilemma about killing baby Adolf Hitler. Perhaps not to this degree of specificity, but I do know of a general wish to be able to travel back in time, in order to change, or “fix”, history. As far as I know, that’s not happening for awhile. Instead of wishing for the (currently) impossible, let’s take what control we have left over history: how we share it and how we learn from it at present.
For instance, education. Textbooks themselves are terribly out of date, and so are the methods which teachers usually employ to explain them. In Social Studies, I use a textbook last updated in 1995, and studying in Canada, that means that it was released before the last residential school closed its doors. While there is a general acceptance within my class that Indigenous peoples were wronged, there has been little attempt to prove this with concrete historical evidence, or to connect it with current events, such as the murders of Colten Boushie and Tina Fontaine. This isn’t the fault of one teacher, or one publishing company, but rather a glimpse into the much larger issue around what we teach our students, and how we teach them. It’s difficult to establish material that is accurate, teaching methods which are creative, and steps to take, which connect learning to today’s world, yet all those elements should be a given in a history class. Above all, encouraging critical thinking is a must, and goes a long way to shaping students who are engaged citizens, both now, and as they age.
Bottom line, we also have a responsibility to rewrite history in a way that is unbiased, respectful, and representative of everyone involved. Part of this process thus should include all of these groups of people in the formation of the resource; in a sense we must “reright” history, as well as rewrite it. This would go a long way to ensuring fair representation of all parties, and bring those who may have been historically divided, together, fostering collaboration and a sense of hope. Rewriting history also calls into question the ways in which we will represent our present to future generations; it is not enough to simply try and make our history accurate. To do so, we need to write about our present wrongs, and take steps to actually right our wrongs. Consequently, the next world leaders will be able to learn all they can from our flaws and mistakes, which we will have held ourselves accountable for, and from our successes, which we will have recorded.
Let’s reright history, write our wrongs, and right our wrongs before we become history.
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We would like to acknowledge that our understanding of history will never truly encompass the multifaceted events that have occurred in our world. We know that this limits us in many capacities, yet we intend to do whatever we can to share a correct, inclusive, and didactic version of history. We invite you to join us, whether that is through protesting inaccurate representation, advocating for changes in the education system, or encouraging those around you to consider a variety of perspectives.