Native American educators created a new Thanksgiving curriculum guide

Originally published at: Native American educators created a new Thanksgiving curriculum guide | Boing Boing


First thing which came to mind.


Kinda sad that our minds are taken over by corporate profit-seeking entertainment. Instead of say, historical facts learned during a lifetime of effective education.


This is really lovely! And the booklet is written in a way that any interested parents of kids that age could do some really fun at-home activities based on it over the holiday weekend. There’s a reading list and activities and learning around each story. And crafts! :slight_smile:


I skimmed through it. It looks like a good lesson plan that has a much more accurate portrayal. Soooo much of what I learned in early elementary school were literal myths. :confused:


Aside: That’s a great logo the public school system has:

OKCPS logo

(Oklahoma’s state bird is the scissor-tailed flycatcher.)


A Native American Friend of mine lived in Oklahoma. He would have been pleased to see this. He used to tell me “The official language of Oklahoma should be Cherokee.”


Eeeehhhh - it should be “one of the official languages”. The seal has the “Five Civilized Tribes” on it, Cherokee, Chickasaw, Choctaw, Creek, and Seminole. But that doesn’t even encompass the diversity of nations in Oklahoma.


i know it’s not you, but there’s a phrase that deserves retirement if ever there was one. “five native nations are on the seal” would be enough to convey what’s meant i think.


I tend to agree, and there are certainly others who do too. There are others who use it in historical contexts, and still others who still consider themselves part of that group.

As I understand it, the usage of the title was applied by Europeans to those 5 specific tribes, but the title was later used by them to try to curry favor in dealings with the US government. The Five Tribes were considered “civilized” because they adopted things like Christianity, a centralized government, could read and write in English, etc. Certainly, they had assimilated many things from the European culture, and hoped such branding would lead to favorable treaties that were honored and be able to keep their sovereignty. Spoiler alert, no matter how well one played ball, they all got stabbed in the back in the end. :confused:

I find it very ironic one of the marks of being “civilized” was the practice of chattel slavery. There is still reverberations to this day from it, with the decedents of Freedmen from the Five Tribes still fighting for tribal membership.

So, yeah, I am not sure if that is how it is officially referred to on the State Seal of Oklahoma still or not? I imagine it is. Absolutely the term is archaic and insulting in the first place.

In cases like this I defer to what ever the leadership of the tribes involved think is best. I am not sure if there is a movement to get that changed or not.


totally. however when not specifically knowing, i’d argue that using more accurate terms is best. using terms that originated out of racism and colonization can only help to perpetuate those conditions.


There was a really good article in the Globe a few weeks back about Thanksgiving and the Wampanoags. I’ve printed it out for conversation at the dinner table next week.


I think he was being a little partisan.


Second thing which came to mind.


I prefer this version. :slight_smile:

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From the comments section
“The MOST appropriate Thanksgiving song out there.”


I saw this guide shared a lot, then I started seeing the following appended, giving major caveats and in effect retracting the recommendation:

The following are the Notes/First impressions from Nitana Hicks Greendeer, Mashpee Wampanoag educator, shared with permission* [although I’m not sure to whom and for what purposes] from a decolonizing homeschoolers education group:

"There are no names of Wampanoag people [credited] as authors

Primary objectives

Wampanoag is pronounced WAM-pa-nog [this curriculum incorrectly lists as Wah-pa-noah]

Recommended books

This list has some specifically problematic books (Squanto and the first Thanksgiving for example) but also includes many (most?) that are not about Wampanoag people which to me gives an uneducated person the impression of a single homogenous culture of native people.

Quick facts

“The Separatists/English roamed Provincetown…” missed opportunity here to talk about the theft of found food stores and grave robbery.

“Only one Patuxet survived…” this is inaccurate.

“Tisquantum was fluent in English…” missed opportunity to talk about why he knew English – he was previously kidnapped by English

“the ‘first meal’…” allows the reader to belive the Wampanoag men were invited, which they were not, but rather arrived armed after hearing gunfire. When they contributed food to the feast they were still disallowed entry to the house and eat “with” the English

“The Wampanoag gave thanks…” relegating to the past. We GIVE thanks. And cranberry day is one of many events which are a fraction of thanksgiving ceremonies and celebrations still practiced

“English were tortured and imprisoned for revolutionary puritan beliefs” makes it sound, because of the context of the rest of the facts, that they were tortured and imprisoned by Wampanoag people.

The goal “I can recognize that people from other cultures have different languages, clothing, food, homes” seems to be othering Native people from white people, as opposed to highlighting that the over 575 federally recognized tribes (and another 60+ state recognized tribes) are all different from each other.

What connection is being made to Thanksgiving when talking about these tribes (in Wyoming for example in the case of the Indian Paintbrush story) What does this have to do with Thanksgiving? They are 2000 miles apart and culturally extremely different.

Problematic craft projects:

War bonnets, dream catchers, shields maybe. I am not from tribes that use these items but I would hesitate to make crafts out of these items, ESPECIALLY the war bonnets.

And again, I do not understand how any of these, except the corn/beans/squash lesson, relate to the myth of Thanksgiving or Wampanoag people."



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