“Columbus in America” Excellent Tool for Educators

Published October 8, 2018

Every second Monday in October imperialism, colonialism, racism, greed, religion, human rights, environmentalism and education all take center stage around one of America’s most controversial and enduring symbols.

Many people educated in American schools don’t know much about Christopher Columbus beyond what they learned in the fifth grade. But a movement called Indigenous Peoples’ Day is gaining momentum and raising awareness for an issue many people never knew existed.

Filmmaker Paul Puglisi picked up his camera and set out across North America on his own, speaking with pre-eminent cultural leaders, authors, historians, activists, and educators at the center of this issue. How could a man who never stepped foot in any of our fifty United States – a nation that was 270 years away from being formed when he died – become a fixture of Americana, in a society born out of its own atrocities against Native peoples?

Winner of Best Documentary Feature at the 2018 Colorado International Film Festival, the resulting story is far more than the changing of a day on a calendar. COLUMBUS IN AMERICA addresses several critical questions at the heart of this controversy – Is it fair to judge someone from the 15th century by the moral standards of today? How can one man be a mass murderer, a messenger of Christ, a cultural icon and an American hero all at once? Why do so many of us learn next to nothing about one of the most monumental events in human history beyond a rhyme and the names of his three ships? Is how we teach history a reflection of what we value in our society today?

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