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My AP U.S. History teacher had my class debate who should have been punished for the deaths of Taino Native Americans when Columbus arrived in the New World. As a Native American myself, I had a lot to say.
My teacher divided students into groups: like Columbus’s men, the system of empire, and King Ferdinand. I was assigned to argue on behalf of the Tainos.
I spent all night preparing for the debate, reading through passages about thousands of native Americans dying and being mistreated.
The next day, my class argued back and forth. But my group sat there and said nothing. It was upsetting because they weren’t as invested in the assignment nor did they show sympathy for the Native Americans who died.
I believe it’s so important for teachers to challenge their students with cultural assignments. I put extra effort into it, and It allowed me to be a leader in my class. And, I won the debate.