We are parents and educators committed to a just and equitable society. This blog is a forum to share ideas and resources to help us teach our children and ourselves about social equity issues.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Reconsidering Thanksgiving

Dear Parents and Teachers

Thanksgiving is one of my favorite holidays.  Like many of you perhaps, I love the combination of cooking, eating, Fall and family time.

But it’s also a great jumping off point, with our children, to challenge what we think about this holiday, and its history, from a new perspective.  Thanksgiving is of course a bittersweet day, at best, for many of the indigenous people of North America for whom the day is a reminder of betrayal and loss.

I put together some resources; movies, books and other notes that may be interesting to consider over the holiday.  I particularly enjoyed the PBS American Experience documentary series, entitled “We Shall Remain.”  The first episode of the five part series is After the Mayflower.  It tells what we now believe unfolded between the Pilgrims and the Wampanoag Indians. Through interviews with historians and re-enactments, this episode examines the Wampanoag's assistance to and alliance with the Pilgrims and the tragic events over the next 50 years.  It’s quite a story.  It is appropriate for general viewing but does contain some powerful descriptions and images which may be too much for very young viewers, for instance, a facsimile of a severed head. This occurs in the film after 1:09 minutes if you want to preview before deciding if appropriate for your whole family.

Here are some other resources I found thought provoking too:

Should I correct Thanksgiving stereotypes my kids see on TV?

Oyate: Recommended children's books about Thanksgiving

Teaching about Native American Issues

Have a very happy Thanksgiving.


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