The Fantasy called Thanksgiving
- To debunk stereotypes and historical myths.
- To move away from a monocultural paradigm to a multicultural one.
- Thanksgiving is a much bigger concept than the feast at the Plymouth Plantation.
- When lesson plans are built upon partial and biased information, we are not teaching the truth.
The Holy God having by a long and Continual Series of his Afflictive dispensations in and by the present Warr with the Heathen Natives of this land, written and brought to pass bitter things against his own Covenant people in this wilderness, yet so that we evidently discern that in the midst of his judgements he hath remembered mercy, having remembered his Footstool in the day of his sore displeasure against us for our sins, with many singular Intimations of his Fatherly Compassion, and regard; reserving many of our Towns from Desolation Threatened, and attempted by the Enemy, and giving us especially of late with many of our Confederates many signal Advantages against them, without such Disadvantage to ourselves as formerly we have been sensible of, if it be the Lord's mercy that we are not consumed, It certainly bespeaks our positive Thankfulness, when our Enemies are in any measure disappointed or destroyed; and fearing the Lord should take notice under so many Intimations of his returning mercy, we should be found an Insensible people, as not standing before Him with Thanksgiving, as well as lading him with our Complaints in the time of pressing Afflictions:
The Council has thought meet to appoint and set apart the 29th day of this instant June, as a day of Solemn Thanksgiving and praise to God for such his Goodness and Favour, many Particulars of which mercy might be Instanced, but we doubt not those who are sensible of God's Afflictions, have been as diligent to espy him returning to us; and that the Lord may behold us as a People offering Praise and thereby glorifying Him; the Council doth commend it to the Respective Ministers, Elders and people of this Jurisdiction; Solemnly and seriously to keep the same Beseeching that being perswaded by the mercies of God we may all, even this whole people offer up our bodies and souls as a living and acceptable Service unto God by Jesus Christ.
Myth: Squanto was captured by a British slaver who raided the village.
Myth: The first Thanksgiving was the feast at Plymouth Plantation.
How did the current myth of Thanksgiving come to be?
- There are cultural differences between Indian tribes. Not all Indians look the same or live the same way.
- We can learn about the political structure of Indian tribes and the importance of women in government.
- We can broaden our concept of Indian leadership. For example, the Wampanoag did not have chiefs; rather, they had sachems and tribal councils.
- We can learn how the Constitution of the United States and articles of Confederation came to be. We can learn what the Constitution of the United States and Articles of Confederation are, for that matter.
- We can learn the importance of conservation by taking care of the land (Mother Earth).
- We can learn about respect, honesty, and integrity in our interactions with others and in how we conduct ourselves.
- We can learn about how the seasons are celebrated in different cultures.
- We can learn the importance of the family dinner table.
- We can learn empathy and compassion for others.
- We can learn about agriculture.
- We can learn about the different dwellings various Indian tribes used and continue to use, as well as the dwellings of people in cultures all over the world.
ReferencesBerkhofer, Jr., R. F., (1978). The White Man's Indian, Vintage Books, Random House, New York
Jennings, F., (1976). The Invasion of America, New York: W.W. Norton and Company, Inc.
Larsen, C, M., (1981). The Real Thanksgiving, Tacoma, Washington:Tacoma Public Schools
The Council on Interracial Books for Children, (1971). Chronicles of American Indian Protest, Greenwich, Conn.: Fawcett Pub. Inc.,
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