I teach U.S. history to juniors. Our first unit is on the first peoples of North America. Our second unit begins exploring the impact European colonization had the the indigenous people of the Americas. At the end of this second unit, we use The People vs. Columbus, et al in order to critically examine the forces that created and maintained imperialism. I supplement by focusing more time on the Taínos, their rebellions, and their leaders.
Besides being incredibly informative and an excellent way to teach claim and evidence, this Zinn Education Project lesson is also really fun for students. Every year, my students say it is one of their favorite things from the school year, especially for those who enjoy getting into character and “embellishing.” For example, I had lawyers attempt to bribe jury members or the judge, dramatic reenactment of specific conversations or crimes, and more. At the same time, students understand and respect the gravity of the history lesson and the genocide of the Taínos.