The National Education Association (NEA) is the largest labor union in the nation, representing more than three million teachers and administrators. It is also a decidedly left-wing organization, and as such often evinces a hyper-critical perspective of the United States, and Western civilization, in general. Its frontal assault on Columbus is one such example.
Go to the NEA’s website and type in “Columbus” in the search engine. Guess what pops up? “Resources for Teaching About Indigenous Peoples.” There you will find information about people who migrated to America—just like the rest of us. These “indigenous peoples” came from Asia. We know them as American Indians.
The NEA has lots of resources for teachers on Columbus and the Indians, the most prominent of which is the Zinn Education Project. It is named after historian Howard Zinn, a man who hated America with a passion, so much so that he became a member of the Communist Party. He wrote the best-selling volume, A People’s History of the United States, the most dishonest book on American history ever written.
“Abolishing Columbus Day.” That is the goal of the Zinn Education Project, as stated on its website. It is a quick tutorial, but it is no substitute for Zinn’s famous textbook.
Mary Grabar is the author of Debunking Howard Zinn. The subtitle says it all: Exposing the Fake History That Turned a Generation against America.
One way Zinn created his false history is by selectively quoting from what Columbus said. His account is laced with ellipses, glaring omissions from the exact words written by Columbus. Grabar offers many examples of this sleight of hand, saying these “omissions are essential to Zinn’s dishonest retelling of the Columbus story. By leaving crucial words out of the quotation, Zinn makes Columbus say something very different from what he actually said.”
Just as bad, Zinn lifted much of what he said about Columbus from a book written by his radical friend, Hans Koning. The problem with that rendering is that “Koning was not a Columbus scholar any more than Zinn was. In fact, he was not even a historian, while Zinn was at least a college professor.”
Worse, “Koning’s slim volume does not cite any sources (our italic).”
As the author of many books, Bill Donohue can say without equivocation that no author of a non-fiction book should ever be taken seriously if he does not cite his sources. This is doubly true when the author seeks to counter the conventional wisdom on the subject. So when Christopher Hitchens wrote a 99-page book slamming Mother Teresa, offering not a single source to back up his libelous claims, Donohue told him to his face that he was not a scholar and cannot be taken seriously.
Zinn would have the reader believe that the Indians were doing just fine before the white man came along. Never once does he attempt to explain why many tribes engaged in savage warfare against each other (the Hurons and the Iroquois are one of many examples), nor does he discuss cannibalism, human sacrifice, and other acts of cruelty that existed before the Europeans arrived.
Just as important, Zinn does not comment on all of those Indians that helped the Europeans win by defecting to their side. They had had enough with the butchery they experienced at the hands of some tribes. None of this is taught to students.
Grabar notes that the Zinn Education Project has a role-playing exercise for students as young as elementary school. One of the questions is whether European life, called the “System of Empire,” made violence inevitable. “In effect such a trial is a show trial,” says Grabar, “with a jury of naive children who are manipulated by their teachers.”
She closes with the following observation. “It is Zinn’s book that should be put on trial. If the historian lies, there is no defense.”
If Zinn was a liar, what does that make the NEA? It is actively peddling his malicious falsification of American history.