Wednesday, November 22, 2006

for tomorrow: TEACHING ABOUT THANKSGIVING

. . . For an Indian, who is also a school teacher, Thanksgiving was never an easy holiday for me to deal with in class. I sometimes have felt like I learned too much about "the Pilgrims and the Indians." Every year I have been faced with the professional and moral dilemma of just how to be honest and informative with my children at Thanksgiving without passing on historical distortions, and racial and cultural stereotypes.

The problem is that part of what you and I learned in our own childhood about the "Pilgrims" and "Squanto" and the "First Thanksgiving" is a mixture of both history and myth. But the THEME of Thanksgiving has truth and integrity far above and beyond what we and our forebearers have made of it. Thanksgiving is a bigger concept than just the story of the founding of the Plymouth Plantation.

So what do we teach to our children? . . .

Read all of T E A C H I N G A B O U T T H A N K S G I V I N G
by Dr. Frank B. Brouillet, Cheryl Chow, Warren H. Burton and Dr. Willard E. Bill. Originally written and developed by Cathy Ross, Mary Robertson, Chuck Larsen, and Roger Fernandes - with an introduction by Chuck Larsen.

2 comments:

Charlie Burrow said...

Thanks for publishing Chuck Larsen’s Thanksgiving essay. Unfortunately, not everyone sees it in the same light, including Pam Dzama, a columnist for the local Kitsap Sun (Bremerton, Washington): http://www.kitsapsun.com/news/2007/nov/21/pam-dzama-giving-thanks-for-our-unique-nation/

Sandwiched between syrupy tributes to our "traditional" Thanksgiving is her nasty attack on Larsen’s piece, which was originally published as the introduction to a Thanksgiving teaching guide by the Washington State Superintendent of Public Instruction: http://www.k12.wa.us/CISL/pubdocs/TeachingAboutThanksgiving.pdf

Best regards,

Charlie Burrow
Indianola, Washington

Gabi Clayton said...

Thank you, Charlie. I hadn't read Pam Dzama's column. As you know I completely disagree with her attack on the Larsen piece.

For those who want to read Dzama's column, it was partly cut off because it is a long url. Here it is in 2 lines which you can join to get there:
http://www.kitsapsun.com/news/2007/nov/21/
pam-dzama-giving-thanks-for-our-unique-nation

Some people want to believe the 'historical stories' taught to them because dealing with what really happened would not feel very good. They would rather shop, feast and celebrate than acknowledge the genocides we are responsible for. The fantasies taught = bliss for those who can afford the lie; and lies keep power in the hands of people who are threatened by truth.