Wednesday, November 22, 2006

my rant on Thanksgiving, don't worry it's not near as bad as the Columbus Day rant!

I posted this after a Yahoo! article about a 3rd grade teacher who was actually teaching his kids the real story behind the early relations between the Native Americans and the British colonists. While I think 3rd grade is a bit early, I do like the idea that some grammar school teachers want to teach the truth and not just what is in the textbooks or what the school board says. And I figured I'd post it here too since we have been talking about history and how it is taught in 810, along with the fact that faulty high school and college textbooks was a topic of my discussion sections a few weeks ago (which I brought up in 810 as well for those that were there and remember). So, here it is:

As for kids learning this part of American history, I think it could probably wait until sixth grade or so, but it should not wait too long because most of the history one learns (unless they become history majors in college or take a couple good history courses) will be in high school and jr. high, where history is often wrong, misleading and misinformed.

Personally, I have always found two particular holidays very perplexing: Columbus Day and Thanksgiving. Columbus, obviously, did not "discover" anything since there were already people here and he was not even the first European to land here. Then, when he got here, he slaughtered large numbers of natives on Hispanola and other Carribean islands. Yeah, let's party for that!

As for Thanksgiving, it is right that the first celebration was amicable, relations between the natives and the Protestants in Plymouth turned sour soon thereafter. And by this time, the British in Virginia had already been at war with the Powhatan Confederacy twice, in 1611 and 1622. And then, of course, if Thanksgiving is supposed to represent the natives helping out our fore-fore-forefathers from starvation, I feel, for equal time, we need to have another holiday that acknowledges the land and lives we stole from the Native Americans.

I love Thanksgiving, not for what it represents but because I get to eat a lot of turkey, spend time with friends or family and watch football all day! But every holiday, I quietly appologize to the natives for the violent and expansive nature of those British colonists and the early Americans.

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