Colonial Day: Why is this still a thing?

Yesterday marked the 17th annual Colonial Day at the Oklahoma capitol – a historical cosplay gymboree where almost 500 students from around the state dressed in colonial garbs, which resembled outfits worn by historical figures like George Washington, Betsy Ross, and many more mythologized American historical figures.


Nearly 500 Oklahoma students recently traveled back in time and met such historical figures as Martha Washington and Benjamin Franklin during the 17th annual Colonial Day at the state Capitol.

The program was presented by Colonial Williamsburg and George Washington Teacher Institute alumni in partnership with the Oklahoma Foundation for Excellence.

Students from Arnett, Edmond, Enid, Gore, Midwest City, Moore, Oklahoma City, Putnam City, Stuart and Tuttle public schools were dressed in colonial-period attire for the hands-on history education event.

Oklahoma is the only state in the nation to host a Colonial Day event at its state Capitol. Students had the opportunity to interact with people from the past — portrayed by historical interpreters — and participate in such teacher-led sessions as colonial dancing, revolutionary soldier life, tin smithing and Native American history.

I mean, is it not a little strange to anyone else that this state is the only one that deems it acceptable to celebrate something like Colonial Day? I mean, the title of the day itself is loaded with various implications.

For example, colonialism didn’t give a rat’s ass about the indigenous people who were here before the European settlers. Even in the article, readers can see a photograph of a child wearing an Indian chief headdress. The person who wrote the caption underneath did a great job skidding across the line of a veiled falsehood.

Check this out:

Dressed as a Native American, who co-existed with with European settlers after they arrived in North America to build settlements.” 

Ignoring the “with with,” “co-existed” is an interesting word choice. Personally, I would have went with “forcefully lived among Native Americans until their inevitable western expansion and harsh removal of the indigenous people.” But sure, “co-existed” sounds nicer.

Throughout most elementary education, students are led to believe that America is the greatest, because we had the best intentions, freedom on our hearts, and we fought on the side of justice and equality. Hell, the “hands-on history education event,” is hosted by teachers and educational performers. For one day, Oklahoma students can learn about the national history; or, at least, how many of us want to view history.

At the end of the day, there are better parts of American history to cosplay and have children reenact. For example, you can do a children’s event dedicated to teaching about the civil right’s of African Americans. You could host a children’s day in which you teach about the suffragette movement and how women obtained the right to vote.

There are countless moments in American history to showcase for children; yet, they decided to cut corners telling the story of how early Americans fought the British while oppressing women and people of a different ethnicity.

So why is Colonial Day a thing?