MADISON, Wis. – A Thanksgiving lesson that teaches hate, fear, and racism rather than collaboration, diversity, and respect for truth has been prepared for students in Wisconsin K-5 classrooms.
According to the Department of Public Instruction website, this approach was first recommended in 1977.
This Thanksgiving lesson is based upon a “likelihood, the ‘First Thanksgiving’ in colonial America was proclaimed in 1637 to commemorate the murder of approximately 700 Pequot Indians at Mystic Fort.” This disgusting hypothesis is based on the admitted supposition of the late Professor William Newell of the University of Connecticut.
Actual documents from the 17th century include Edward Winslow’s writings in Mourt’s Relation and William Bradford’s account in Of Plymouth Plantation which describe the Thanksgiving in 1621 where settlers and Native Americans shared food and gave thanks.
Many Native American tribes worked well with American settlers who often purchased land from Native Americans by trading goods and services as was customary in many nations.
Claiming that beads were not fair payment shows a lack of respect for custom and for the value of those beads which were highly valued by Native Americans. Today, wealthy women pay $12,000 for a beaded evening gown. That is the price for a heavily-wooded acre lot in our subdivision.
During that time period, nations expanded by conquering other nations. A more positive lesson would be one which compares that reason for war to the reasons used today. Children would benefit from discussing whether mankind has become more respectful of life and the rights of people from other nations. To condemn only American settlers for a historical practice is to advocate self-hatred while subjugating truth.
Some educators enthusiastically demand a respect for collaboration among people and a respect for diversity and the collective. The original Thanksgiving account accomplishes all of these goals, so why change the story?
For any State Superintendent of Education to encourage policies that teach kindergarten children that many of their ancestors would feast to celebrate the slaughter of other human beings is infuriating.
Why would these children want to return to a classroom to learn more about the history that represents their ancestors as vile people? This accused behavior is in direct contradiction to the Judeo-Christian values used to shape a Declaration of Independence, a Constitution, and a Bill of Rights which require that all people are equal under the law and that none should be deprived of their life, liberty, or property. Who would want children to disavow historical support for these values?
When a federal test question is aligned to a federal standard which teaches that the first American Thanksgiving was a celebration of the slaughter of 700 Pequot Indians, that concept will also be the only acceptable answer to a test question on that subject. This prevents teachers and parents from teaching children the truth.
Unhappy parents and children want out of a school system that is growing more politicized as the federal government assumes greater control of the standards, curricula, and testing materials.
Ehlers, J., and P.L. Gibbard, 2004a, Quaternary Glaciations: Extent and Chronology 2: Part II North America, Elsevier, Amsterdam. ISBN 0-444-51462-7.
Dyke A.S. & Prest V.K. (1986). Late Wisconsinian and Holocene retreat of the Larentide ice sheet: Geological Survey of Canada Map 1702A
Dickason, Olive. Canada’s First Nations: A History of the Founding Peoples from the Earliest Times. 2nd edition. Toronto: Oxford University Press, 1997.
Native American populations descend from three key migrations http://phys.org/news/2012-07-native-american-populations-descend-key.html