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How to Talk to Children About Thanksgiving

When I was in the third grade, our school class celebrated Thanksgiving Day by dressing as Native Americans and Native Americans. We made earplugs and cut out grocery bags. We smiled and sat down to have a snack, as he did in Plymouth, Massachusetts in 1621, right?

Needless to say, Thanksgiving has a very difficult history. Children are intelligent and intelligent, and I have always wondered how it affects thinking deeply and deeply. Last week, I turned to three thought leaders and put together a Thanksgiving tutorial guide (please see, also, in the comments!)…

First, be inquisitive and open.
Everyone enjoys eating turkey and pie, but it’s important not to ignore the grim history of Thanksgiving. “There was no such delicious food; it’s time for us to go to bed, ”Traci Sorell, a children’s book author and registered citizen of Cherokee Nation, told me by phone. “It is unwise to keep these stories to ourselves. Who is that servant? Our children look at us and say, why am I being taught this? Why would you want students to wear vests and face masks and things that don’t fit the real historical context? We know who is benefiting: it is making the pitch higher and that is not where we should be in 2021. “

Now, let’s straighten things out. What really happened in 1621?
Here is a brief summary of what I understand: Pilgrims, many of whom were fleeing religious persecution in England, arrived in North America in 1620. During their first winter in Massachusetts, half of them died from malnutrition, disease, and weather. winter. They met the Wampanoag tribe, who specialized in the area but also suffered hardships. After years of struggle against slavery and the killing of Europeans, their nation had recently been devastated by a deadly plague from Europe.

Despite widespread opposition, the leader of the Wampanoag Massasoit (also known as sachem Ousamequin) sought an alliance with the English settlers. He signed a peace treaty with the Pilgrims in April 1621, and the Wampanoag people taught the Pilgrims to hunt, fish, eat, and cultivate the land, which resulted in better harvests.

The relationship was peaceful at first, but in time, the British invaded Wampanoag. In 1675, war broke out between the English colonists and the Native confederation in New England. Villages were set on fire, more than 40 percent of the Wampanoag tribe were killed, and many Native Americans were sold into slavery. Since then, Native Americans have continued to face discrimination, abolition, broken treaties and systematic deportation of Native Americans to their country.

So, how should we talk to children about Thanksgiving?
As you teach children history, you want to be age-appropriate. “For very young children, you can turn a Thanksgiving conversation into something you appreciate as a family; three-year-olds don’t need to know the details, ”says Bob Peterson, founding editor of Rethinking Schools, editor of Rethinking Columbus and former 4th and 5th grade teacher at Milwaukee Public Schools. For children aged five or six, Peterson suggests, “The Wampanoag people lived in Massachusetts, but people from Europe came to take their place, and it was not fair.” Then, of course, older children can learn a deeper history.

We can also teach children of all ages how to ask questions. “From a young age, I asked my children, ‘Why is this holiday called Thanksgiving? What did people appreciate? What is the other side of the story? ‘”Says Sachi Ferris, a mother of three who is also the founder of the Raising Race Conscious Children website.

Can we come together to eat Thanksgiving food while acknowledging the history of violence and modern inequality?
As I learned more, I wondered if we could skip Thanksgiving. In 1970, Indians in the United States of New England declared Thanksgiving to be International Funeral Day. But some Native Americans and their allies celebrate the holiday as part of a long celebration of gratitude. “Cherokees are taught to be thankful every day, every season, every year,” Sorell said.

Focusing on appreciation and awareness can be a great way. Ferris says: “Instead of skipping Thanksgiving, my main concern is to respond and make the children think seriously. “Kids can be explored on the radio they eat, and Thanksgiving is part of that.”

After Thanksgiving, what can we do to help our children learn and grow?

* I look forward to reading many children’s books with Native Americans, such as We Are Grateful: The Esaliheliga by Traci Sorell and by Frané Lessac; If You Were There During Plimouth Thanksgiving by Chris Newell and photograph by Winona Nelson; Children of Native America Today by Yvonne Wakim Dennis and Arlene Hirschfelder; and We Are Water Protectors by Carole Lindstrom and by Michaela Goade.

* We can find out who we are living by by looking at Native Land Digital. Says Peterson: “At our school, we agree to accept a place at the beginning of our school meeting; national appreciation can be a great compliment, or a simple family tradition.

* If your child has questions and questions that you do not know how to answer, you can say that you will do the research and return. (I do this and discuss sex and consent, too.)

* And, of course, discuss history, race and opportunity, throughout the year. “Talk to your children about modern security groups; think of the areas in which the job is constantly being held, ”says Ferris. “These are not just incidents, but questions are necessary.”

Thoughts? How will you celebrate Thanksgiving this year? What other ideas or thoughts do you have? If you are an American citizen, how does the holiday feel to you? Sorell says: “It gives me hope when I see young people dating. “Our children need to do better.”

PS Parenting racist children, is our Race Matters section.

(Photo by Sean Locke / Stocksy.)

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