Georgian students ordered to write in support of native removal

  • An assignment at a Georgia school on the Trail of Tears has been removed.
  • Fourth graders were asked to write in favor of “removing the Cherokee.”
  • The assignment also required students to write from the perspective of a member of the Cherokee Nation.

A school in Georgia gave fourth-grade students an assignment that prompted them to write from the perspective of an English colonizer in America and justify the removal of Indigenous peoples from their land.

“Write a letter to President Andrew Jackson from the perspective of an American settler. Explain why you think removing the Cherokee will help the United States grow and prosper, said the writing prompt titled “ The Trail of Tears”, referring to one of the greatest. tribes of indigenous peoples in the United States.

Jackson, Commander-in-Chief from 1829 to 1837, signed the Indian Removal Act in 1830 authorizing – beyond his mandate – the violent forced displacement of an estimated 100,000 indigenous peoples amid the country’s westward expansion. More than 15,000 people from different tribal nations have died on what has been called the Trail of Tears, which has been widely classified as the ethnic cleansing and genocide tens of thousands of Aboriginal people.

Although the exact numbers are unknown, the National Park Service estimated that 4,000 Cherokees – or one-fifth of their population – died on the Trail of Tears. A Choctaw chief called the trip a “path of tears and death.”

Jennifer Martin, a parent from Virginia, told Insider that she shared the assignment from a public charter school called Georgia Cyber ​​Academy after seeing someone post it to a private parents’ group. She saw the prompt as an example of how the movement against critical race theory is “to prioritize the sentiments of settlers and colonizers as being more important than real, actual history”.

“If this type of content could happen in a state-funded charter school in Georgia, it could easily happen in any public school, and I think people should be aware of how quickly we let’s move on to that kind of atmosphere in American schools,” says Martine. “The truth of American history, and what happened to Indigenous peoples and enslaved Africans and other people of color, should not be whitewashed.”

School assignment on Trail of Tears.

Part of the Trail of Tears writing prompt by Georgia Cyber ​​Academy.

Courtesy of Georgia Cyber ​​Academy.

According to Georgia Department of Education, in lesson plans that explain westward expansion in America, educators are to “describe the impact of westward expansion on American Indians; include the Trail of Tears, the Battle of Little Bighorn and the Forced Resettlement of American Indians on Reservations”. Georgia Cyber ​​Academy, a charter school, may not be required to meet these guidelines for the social studies curriculum.

A Georgia Cyber ​​Academy spokesperson told Insider the task has since been removed after the school administration “concluded it was not an appropriate question to use in our classrooms.” .

“While there is often a benefit to asking students to consider all perspectives in a social studies course – and it should be noted that the next question in the series asked students to argue from the perspective opposite (screenshot attached) – we believe there are more appropriate ways to teach this subject,” the spokesperson said in an email.

The second part of the assignment, shared by the school, asked students to write from the “point of view of a Cherokee Indian”.

“Explain why the Indian Removal Act is harmful to you and your family. Describe the conditions on the Trail of Tears and their effects on your tribe,” the prompt said.

The Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma did not immediately respond to Insider’s request for comment.


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