Tomorrow many of you will be celebrating Thanksgiving, a holiday dedicated to giving thanks and spending time with loved ones while feasting on delicious food. However, most of us have been given this false narrative of the story of Thanksgiving, involving pilgrims and Native Americans. We do lesson plans with our students centered around coloring turkeys, presenting skits where children reenact the first Thanksgiving, and having students compile lists of gratefulness. We fail to take the time to teach our children about the true history of Thanksgiving, either from lack of knowledge on the subject or fear of appearing to indoctrinate our students. Since 1970, Native Americans have commemorated a National Day of Mourning on Thanksgiving Day, focusing on the genocide of millions of Native Americans at the hands of Pilgrims and other European settlers.
I would encourage you to seek the graphic, but true origins of Thanksgiving and to research the National Day of Mourning. This type of information should be taught to our children as part of culturally relevant pedagogy. The racism and oppression that Native Americans have experienced in this country has extended far beyond that first Thanksgiving and the first step to combatting those issues today is to teach our youth. Some teachers talk about introducing socially conscious topics in the classroom, but fail to do so when they are plenty of opportunities. You have 365 days until the next Thanksgiving. Get to preparing those lesson plans now!