Robin Levin is completing the curriculum at the school on the Wind River Indian Reservation. She is a member of the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum's teaching fellows program.
"A lot of our young people struggle in defining their futures," Levin said. "My theory is that if you don't have a firm grip on you cultural past, you won't have a firm grip on you cultural future."
Levin is comparing the Holocaust with the U.S. government's policy of placing Indian students in boarding schools. Students at such schools were forbidden from speaking their native languages and forced to give up their traditions.
Levin, who is Jewish, said it's important to share the story of both tragedies with American Indian students.
Gene Meier, superintendent of Ft. Washakie School, said he believes there's no doubt that boarding school movement shares similarities to the Holocaust.
"It may not have been as quick, it many not have been as in your face," Meier said, "but truly, there has been an agenda in the history of the U.S. to eradicate Native Americans."
Meier said teaching American Indian students about the Holocaust allows them to consider the issues of social injustice, protection of tribal sovereignty and how to be better human beings.
"That's where I see the connection between the Holocaust and Indians," he said.
Levin may want to explore how Hitler learned about genocide from reading the Bible, US history books, and Karl May's Westerns. As well as other sources, of course.
After that she could get into the similarities between Bush's immoral invasion of Iraq and the Europeans' immoral invasion of America. Wouldn't that be controversial? <g>
Actually, I suspect Levin's curriculum will be too "radical" for the conservative people of Wyoming and their cowboy mentality. We'll see if it ever gets off the ground.
For more on the subject, see Churchill: Manifest Destiny = Holocaust and Holocaust on Display (Or Not).