This weekend we took a trip to Yosemite national park and we made it a point to check out all of the exhibits with the kids. In the museum we walked through and my 9 yo was determined to read EVERY THANGGGG in it. We got to the area that talked about the land theft by white "pioneers" and I watched her reaction, really out of curiosity. What would she understand? How would she react? She read the descriptions and the historical facts and she listened to some recordings of a woman who was telling her story of being forced to a reservation and what she felt when she returned after her families' lands were stolen from them.
Big C walked around a little quietly, going back to read one of the descriptions of the land theft, and she looked very pensive. I asked her what was bothering her, and she said quietly,"none of this is right. What happened here is not right." as she pointed to the room around her. I agreed with her, and asked her what she felt was wrong, "None of this belonged to those white people, they hurt people to take something that did not belong to them and they never gave it back..." We walked around a little, and then I gave her a bit of a quick history lesson. She is in the 4th grade so she will be learning more about reservations and the Native Californians at school, but I wanted to give her some tools to challenge the information that she is presented with.
What I was happy to see is an early spark in her for justice. She understands why what happened to the Miwok people was wrong without any prompting from me. I think for me, as a mother, I do want my children to go through life with some level of self-realizations. I wanted to see what opinion she would formulate before stepping in. I think it is important for my kids to be socially conscious, but I want it to come from them, my hope is that I am raising them in a way that allows them to see injustice without being told what is an injustice...and this weekend I got a little bit of satisfaction in knowing I am accomplishing this goal.