Homework for a virtual secular charter school in Georgia gave a prompt that encouraged students to talk about the removal of the Cherokee, an Indigenous tribe forcibly relicated to what is now Oklahoma.
The Keetoowah or Tsalagi—designated the Cherokee Nation by the federal government—is a sovereign tribal nation forced out of present-day Georgia to the area of what's now known as Tahlequah, Oklahoma.
"My friend's kid's school in Georgia sent homework with this question."
The assignment read:
"Write a letter to President Andrew Jackson, from the perspective of an American settler."
"Explain why you think removing the Cherokee will help the United States prosper."
Martin told Native Viewpoint:
"I think my friend shared it in our moms’ group because she was so shocked that she didn’t know how to answer and wanted advice as to what to do."
“I shared it publicly because I wanted people to know this is going on in state-funded schools, and how dangerous the anti-CRT (critical race theory) rhetoric and laws are, and what kind of lies it leads to when discussing history."
"I’m also a parent, and I would be horrified to learn my kids were getting assignments like that.”
Many tried to defend the teacher, saying it was necessary to teach "the other side," but commenters pushed back at that response with one commenting:
"I shudder to think how you'd teach about the Holocaust."
"Is a letter to Hitler supporting that genocide also appropriate?"
Dr. Twyla Baker, of the Mandan-Hidatsa Nation, told Native Viewpoints this is not how empathy is taught:
“I think I can point to the entire tribal college movement as proof that there are myriad ways to teach history that doesn’t ask marginalized groups of students to play Devil’s Advocate' or justify genocide on behalf of oppressors."
“There are better ways to teach history that respect the voices and perspectives of everyone involved, and include multiple narratives, because history belongs to all of us. We need to actively dismantle the idea that only one narrative exists."
"Many, many scholars are doing it in classrooms across the country; to do otherwise is intellectually lazy, and disrespects our children, no matter their background.”
According to the Cherokee Nation website, their approximately 11,000 employees make a huge impact:
"Cherokee Nation and its subsidiaries are one of the largest employers in northeastern Oklahoma."
"The tribe had a more than $2.16 billion economic impact on the Oklahoma economy in fiscal year 2018."
The Georgia Cyber Academy has yet comment about the assignment.