Thursday, November 23, 2006

How Should Children Be Taught About Thanksgiving?

Elementary school children have long learned about Thanksgiving in part by dressing up as Pilgrims and Indians and acting out what happened at the first Thanksgiving. But some educators and others believe children should be taught Thanksgiving with a more realistic view of the relationship between the Indians and European settlers.

AP reports that Bill Morgan, a third-grade teacher in San Francisco, does his lesson by walking into his class wearing a Pilgrim hat made of construction paper and taking the children's pencils, backpacks and other supplies and saying they belong to him because he "discovered" them. This provokes the reaction he wants, the kids get angry and want their things back, a way he tries to get them to view things from the Indian point of view. But some people believe this is extreme. Janice Shaw Crouse, a former college dean and high school teacher who's now a spokesperson for the conservative organization Concerned Women for America, told AP, "I think that is very sad. He is teaching his students to hate their country. That is a very distorted view of history, a distorted view of Thanksgiving."

James Loewen, a former history professor and author of Lies My Teacher Told Me: Everything Your High School History Textbook Get Wrong, told AP that during the first Thanksgiving, in 1621, the Wampanoag Indians and the Pilgrims had in fact been living in relative peace. It was only later in the 17th century that bloody warfare broke out between the two groups.

If this teacher was really creative he'd give the kids blankets laced with smallpox!


At 3:23 PM, Blogger Dave said...

This is exactly what we need. Perhaps this generation (or the next) will learn to reject the imperialism that has been embraced by so many of our forefathers.


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