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Indigenous Peoples Day - Learning History for a Purpose


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School: Boynton Middle School

Class: Social Studies

Grade: 6

Subjects: Social Studies, Reading, Writing, Public Speaking

Project: Students researched the geography and history of Columbus in North America through multiple perspectives and literature. They worked to understand interactions between societies, and how issues and problems have roots in the past. Students integrated geography skills and content through understanding the politics, economy, and cultures in their study of our history. After researching the effects of colonization on indigenous communities by historical figures, and examining bias in historical writing, students were inspired by recent work in cities across the United States to examine the Columbus Day holiday, and arguments for its' revision as Indigenous Peoples day. After developing well-reasoned and substantiated arguments, students acted to participate in the local discussion of this issue at the Ithaca City School Board of Education meeting. Advocating to change the school holiday calendar, their suggestions were accepted by the Board and, on October 9, 2017, the Ithaca City School District celebrated our first Indigenous Peoples Day Recess.

Standards: Multiple New York State Reading, Writing, Social Studies

Service Learning: Participation in local government.

Belle Sherman
Beverly J Martin
Cayuga Heights
Fall Creek
South Hill
Boynton Middle
DeWitt Middle
Ithaca HS
Lehman Alternative


Ithaca City School District
Dr. Luvelle Brown, Superintendent
400 Lake Street
Ithaca, NY 14850
(607) 274-2101