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Rethinking Thanksgiving

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The days of quaint school Thanksgiving assemblies featuring pint-sized Pilgrims and Indians breaking bread together may be on the way out. Increasingly, school and teachers are taking a harder look at the traditional Thanksgiving celebrations and turning a critical eye to what might have been left out. San Francisco Teacher Bill Morgan, for example, walks into his 3rd grade classroom and takes away students' pencils and backpacks, saying he's "discovered" them. When the kids protest, he uses it as a jumping-off point for a lesson on the complexities of Pilgrim/Indian relationships. Some American Indian organizations are embracing such methods, arguing that even young children should get an accurate idea of American history. But other American Indians disagree. Chuck Narcho, a substitute teacher who belongs to the Maricopa and Tohono O'odham tribes, favors keeping Thanksgiving lessons light. "They can learn the truths when they grow up," he said. "Caring, sharing and giving—that is what was originally intended." James Loewen, author of Lies My Teacher Told Me: Everything Your High School History Textbook Got Wrong, confirms that the first Thanksgiving was actually a high point in Pilgrim/Indian relations. "Relations were strained, but yet the holiday worked...[But] after that, bad things happened," he said, referring to a period of intense fighting in the 17th century.

10 Comments

Why is it that everyone wants to blame "America" "the Americans" "white men" for everything that happened in the world?
Why do you feature such "bull?" Thanksgiving is a time of "giving thanks" not confusing 3rd graders with the "big bad americans." I suppose he took the prayer out of it too!
I am tired of all the self-righteousness being imposed on all of us. He probably needs to "discover" a life!

Brilliant...I would love to use this 'discover' technique in my Biology classes. As I walk around the room I'll 'discover' iPods, cell phones, and other multimedia devices (I dont care to 'discover' any other personal effects)and proceed keep it for myself telling the students that I'm giving them a real education as our brave Pilgrim forefathers had evidently done the same. I will then sell the items to my fellow 'pilgrim' teachers. At least this will help augment my paltry salary.

I really love Thanksgiving...

Fine. Then while you're at it, how about 'discovering' the actual truth about homosexuality, abortion, and loads of other left-of-center thinking that subtracts common sense from conventional wisdom (which isn't worth 2 wooden nickles).

It seems this article pushed some buttons ... GOOD ... we need our buttons pushed.

To William Menz ... America is the most powerful nation in the world ... we ARE big and we are bad ... it's the truth. And our greatness has always and continues to grow because we stand on the back of others. Read Howard Zinn's book ... People's History of the United States. Try to take a step outside of privelege and see it from another perspective. You might see something different.

By the way, Bill Morgan is right. You can't discover something that is already there, hun ... they were here first you know. Thousands of years first, as a matter of fact.

Peace

oh...there it is....I think I just 'discovered' Miss Williams' brain in my biology class....I'm not sure she ever owned it to begin with. Nonetheless, I wont get much for it even if I try to sell it.

Sell? No way that requires demand. Barter, to many centrists to derive exhange value!

Sometimes the truth is a difficult story to tell 3rd graders. A part of me wishes that I had found out the "real story" as a kid. The pilgrims weren't exactly hospitable towards the Indians. It was more like, help us and then we'll murder you. Most of U.S. History is not so pretty and maybe this country would be in a better place if our children learned some of the real details instead of the tired stories in textbooks.

Next we'll have a crusade to get rid of Santa Claus because it makes kids think they'll get something for nothing. We all need some "mythology" in our lives ... something that is/appears better than we are, and that we can aspire to. Maybe it's not as clean as we would like it to be, but nothing is.

As another commentator mentioned, we hide the truth about a lot of things. Although AIDS is a public health hazard and communicable disease, we report instances of it much differently than we do other diseases such as TB --- perhaps to our overall community health.

Not all truth is equal, I guess.

The difference with Santa Clause is that, although it may be treated as fact, it is not taught as fact. Also, we expect children to grow out of that belief.

Coming from a Native American perspective, I would have to agree on the Fact that the pilgrims weren’t hospitable toward us Natives, like it was told in my history class 12 years ago. Indeed it was more like, help us and then we'll murder you. History is not pretty and this nation needs to stop pulling the wool over the young minds of this great nation. We all need to learn the truth, no matter what age. One must not relate mythology to facts in history, they contradict one another. An example of a fact was that White-Anglo-Saxon gave (this is where the hospitality comes to play) Native Americans smallpox infested blankets. The notion of discovery that Columbus had seemed to land on such a pristine continent, these also contradict each other.

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