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Connections

Connections: Understanding the truth about American and Native American history

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Late last month, former senator Rick Santorum made comments at a Young America's Foundation conference that sparked backlash. During the "Standing Up for Faith and Freedom" event, Santorum argued that America was settled by people "who were coming to practice their faith," and that "there was nothing here." He then stated, "Yes, we have Native Americans, but candidly there isn't much Native American culture in American culture." The backlash came quickly, with people turning to Twitter to argue that the U.S. Constitution was modeled after that of the Iroquois League. But, as explained by SUNY Geneseo history professor Michael Oberg, that's not true.

In a piece for the Washington Post, Oberg writes that both Santorum and his critics whitewashed American history and ignored the violence Americans perpetrated against Indigenous people. This hour, we talk about this history, what is misunderstood or whitewashed, and how to better teach these lessons. Our guests:

  • Michael Leroy Oberg, distinguished professor of history at the State University of New York, College at Geneseo
  • Peter Jemison, historic site manager for Ganondogan
  • Gabriele Papa, member of the Seneca Nation of Indians
  • Michael Galban, Mono Lake Paiute/Washoe, curator and interpretive programs assistant at the Seneca Art & Culture Center at Ganondagan

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