This blog explores the history of Phoenix, Arizona and a little bit of Los Angeles and San Francisco, California

Why the history that is taught in school is different from the complete history


I like learning about history. And I like sharing what what I'm learning. And the most common thing that I hear from people after I share stuff is, “Hey, they didn't teach me that in school!” No, they probably didn't. But it's not a conspiracy, man. Nor are the schools trying to withhold information. It's all about priorities, and teaching students the best way that it can be done.

It was only when I started my teaching career (no, not history, Graphic Design), that I started to understand the limitations of what can be taught. And as much as I'd have liked to have gone into a lot more detail, there were always time constraints. And someone has to decide what to cover during a given semester, and what not to.

I grew up in Minnesota, and if you know your American history, it's where the largest mass execution in United States history took place. No, they didn't teach me that in school. I learned about the Dakota Indian Wars after I became an adult, and I am still learning. It is a shameful part of history, and really, I can't blame schools for not wanting to dwell on this kind of stuff. It's wildly complicated, and something that requires maturity to even begin to understand. The execution order was signed by Abraham Lincoln, but it's not really what most children need to learn about this president. Besides, if you know the rest of the story, you know that he stayed the execution of over 90% of the men who had been condemned to die.

Nowadays I collect old images of Phoenix, Arizona, where I now live. And I have the time, and the maturity, to thoroughly explore. There is no need for me to accept easy answers, sound bites, and “Cliff Notes”. I want to know the whole story, and I'm willing to take the time to try to understand. I know that I never will completely understand, but this is a journey, not a destination.

I plan on living a very long life, and enriching that life with as much knowledge as I can find. There was a time when simplified history was enough for me, but that was when I was a child. As an adult, I want more.

Photo above: Maricopa and Pima Indians with a cowboy in 1889, Phoenix, Arizona. This is part of a very complex story, and the more I learn about it, the more fascinating it is to me.

Understanding the alliance of the Pima, Maricopa, and Papago Indians with the Phoenix pioneers

Understanding the Phoenix Indian School