In the spirit of equity, I wanted to share a few resources to help teach Thanksgiving in the classroom. These resources will help you incorporate a wider perspective of the holiday by including ideas and celebrations from Native American cultures. This year, look beyond the feather headdresses and native symbols of indigenous cultures. By studying the traditions that laid the foundation for Thanksgiving, you can help your students gain a deeper understanding of this holiday of gratitude.
- This is a great list of books geared for kids written from the perspective of Native Americans.
- This resource is full of interesting information about the celebrations of the Wampanoag Tribe, who come from the area where the pilgrims landed.
- This is the “Thanksgiving Address” by the Haudenosaunee people, (also known as Iroquois or Six Nations) of modern upstate New York and Canada. It’s given at the beginning and closing of any community gathering—social, governmental, or ceremonial.
- In this game, you serve as the historian to determine the true story of “the first Thanksgiving.”
- This resource from the National Museum of the American Indian offers “American Indian Perspectives on Thanksgiving” for teachers to apply to classroom discussions or lessons.
- Here are a few additional book suggestions, information, and resources for teaching Thanksgiving from Teaching Tolerance.
- With this resource from Time for Kids you can celebrate the food, government structures, and other contributions Native Americans made to modern society.
If you feel like you can’t get cover it all, an emphasis on gratitude is a wonderful way to teach Thanksgiving in the classroom because it’s a shared cultural element. (Turkeys are also relevant because Native Americans were the first people to raise turkeys for food.) And sharing information and history about local tribes in your area is another great way to help develop a deeper understanding of the holiday among your students.
“Every day is a day of thanks giving to the Wampanoag.” — Tribal Elder Gladys Widdiss
Let us all find gratitude in every day. Happy Thanksgiving Teachers!