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Missing Narratives: Uncovering Untold Histories

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Imagine being in a bookstore, picking up a book and reading the description in the back. You like what you read, so you decide to read the book but….OH NO! Every other chapter is missing! Would you truly understand the full story? Would you even really know what happened? 

Many times, the texts and curricula used in our classrooms are missing critical chapters. This impacts our students’ ability to learn and understand multiple perspectives. Do they truly even know what happened? 

Without taking the time to pause, examine and uncover the details, you would only know one perspective, one glimpse, one snapshot of the story. There is great power when we take the time to unearth these details that were intentionally excluded within our histories. One narrative that is under-told or fabricated in our history is the erasure, exclusion and colonization of Native American and Indigenous peoples. 

Educators, as you construct your lesson plans, think about how you include Native American and Indigenous people’s history from the past and present in your classroom all year long. 

An Uncovered Story

In this Where I Come From video by StoryCorps, Barnie Botone reminisces on his first job as a locomotive engineer. As a 22-year-old, getting his first job was exciting, but he did not expect how significant the legacy of those tracks would be to himself, his family, and his ancestors. 

A hundred years before getting the railroad job, his great-great grandfather Guipago “Lonewolf,” Principal Chief of the nomadic Kiowa, was taken from the land in a livestock cart on this same railroad after a long fight to keep the Kiowa way of living alive. 

Watch Barnie Botone in this short video he narrated, you can also view the clip and lesson plan on PBS LearningMedia.

Classroom Implementation

Having the tools to guide your students in understanding multiple perspectives can be a challenge but we have your back! 

By using our PBS LearningMedia Lesson Plan, “Missing Narratives: Uncovering Untold Histories,” students can create their own history books using Barnie Botone’s story as the catalyst for deeper research! Explore StoryCorps.org for more stories. 

Split into five steps, this lesson plan will guide students into learning more about the Kiowa people, having deeper classroom discussions, culminating in a student-led media project. 

This ready-to-go lesson can help create these moments of uncovering the details and crafting a full story for your learners. This is an opportunity to think outside of the box and scaffold Native American and Indigenous history that may not be in textbooks to provide a more complete understanding. Missing history is still history and just as valuable.

Your Friends At PBS and StoryCorps https://storycorps.org/

This content has been brought to you by the PBS and StoryCorps teams.

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