Lisa Longeteig

The People vs. Columbus trial was so effective. I taught it in a Native American Studies course and the students spent a lot of time exploring primary source documents from Columbus and Las Casas.

It was powerful to watch them transform into excellent and passionate litigators, but basing their arguments upon historical evidence. Also, the power of role plays to induce empathy and compassion for various points of view was evident.

My students are all Native American and they are all too familiar with the concepts of genocide and exploitation. However, many of them did not know about the Taíno and were curious to learn more. At the conclusion we watched the film Even the Rain to enhance their understanding of the texts, and also to learn more about the Cochabamba water war to piece together an interdisciplinary unit about water that they were engaged in.