Lies My Teacher Told Me

How does the "primitive to civilized continuum" continue to resonate in the tories textbooks tell about ative Americans? Why does itpersist?


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Loewen states that, "Historically, American Indians have been the most lied-about subset of our population." Lowen goes on to state that,

"Did Europeans "civilize" the Americas? Actually, anthropologists tell us that "hunters and gatherers were relatively peaceful, compared to agriculturalists, and that modern societies were more warlike still. Thus violence increases with civilization" (101-2).

"..textbooks cannot resist contrasting "primitive" Americans with modern Europeans" (102).

"All the textbooks tell how Jefferson "doubled the size of the United States by buying Louisiana from France." Not one points out that it was not France's land to sell--it was Indian land... Indeed, France did not really sell Louisiana for $15,000,000. France merely sold its claim to the territory... Equally Eurocentric are the maps textbooks use to show the Lewis and Clark expedition. They make Native American invisible, implying that the United States bought vacant land from the French... [Textbooks imply that the Indians were naive about land ownership, but] the problem lay in whites' not abiding by accepted concepts of land ownership" (123).