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According to our local school's website, the K students (which my oldest would otherwise be this year) spend an inordinate amount of time focusing on American Thanksgiving. I just can't figure out what they are talking about. And as a homeschooler, Thanksgiving is a holiday that we don't talk about at all. On Thanksgiving, we have dinner at my parents' house. And I suppose it's a time to feel grateful for the good things in our lives. But aside from that, I have nothing to say.<br><br>
I also don't understand why we revere the Pilgrims so much, one small group of people that came over to America. Actually, the Pilgrims were briefly imprisoned in Boston, England, which is very near where my ILs live. We have this opportunity at some point to see Pilgrim history in England. But from what I've read, the Pilgrims raided Indian burial mounds and stole stuff. The Indians they had their Thanksgiving dinner with were low in number, because many had been recently wiped out by smallpox that the Europeans introduced. So I'm just not seeing what's so wonderful about them. And if my kid were in K, it would really gall me to have him participate in making an Indian costume to recreate the happy little dinner that the friendly Pilgrims and Indians had together (you know, the ones that didn't die of smallpox). It just bugs me.<br><br>
So, we're not learning about Thanksgiving and I can't figure out what everyone else is talking about! Thanksgiving is a harvest holiday and we're not farmers. I know that it was made into a national U.S. holiday by Lincoln. To me, it celebrates families and blessings but certainly not history.<br><br>
Does anyone else feel this way? I feel kind of weird for not getting mixed up in the happy Pilgrim/Indian party and I also feel outraged that the school would seem to be teaching mythology as reality. Also, from the pictures on their website, I think their "Indian costumes" probably don't look anything like what the Wampanoag dressed like. So it seems a bit dodgy on an ethnic angle.<br><br>
Anyone?
 

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I remember my brother and I having a talk about Thanksgiving in the US (he lived in Texas for six years and just recently moved back to Ontario). His opinion is that the reason Thanksgiving is *the* American Holiday (apparently it is celebrated by something like 90-95% of Americans) is that it isn't tied to religion. So you can be Christian, Hindu, Jewish, etc etc etc and you can still celebrate Thanksgiving.<br><br>
And seeing how public schools in general are secular institutions they probably build it up because it is one of the *few* holidays they can actually do that with...most of the others are religious in base.<br><br>
Steph
 

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I just got a few books out at the library to share the REAL history of thanksgiving with my 5yo dd. We live in New England, so the pilgrims and their story kind of have a local level of interest for us as well. I agree that the sacharrine stories school children have to endure are abominable, and unfortunately, it does not end with Thanksgiving. But since it is a non-denominational holiday, I think that the schools jump on it. I mean they have 6+ hours to fill up with a group of 5-6 year olds every day......
 

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I love Thanksgiving becasue it is a great reminder to feel and express gratitude.<br>
We are making a top ten list of things we're grateful for. It's not forced- it's an opportunity to start thinking of all specific things we have and so deeply appreciate. I love making Thanksgiving dinner and sharing this special time with my family. We don't go anywhere or have anyone over...it's just us and I enjoy it this way. (Although there are certain people I'd love to have join us if they could.)<br><br>
I'm not big into studying the history and origin of the holiday. When we do go there it will be with true accounts of what happened...and I feel like my kids are still young for all that yet.
 

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I read one book on Thanksgiving that had the pilgrims converting all the indians to christianity. It went on to say that the pilgrims provided the "poor starving indians" with food.<br><br>
I got about to page four and threw it across the room. I don't remember the name of the book. I think I've blocked it from my memory it was so traumatic. It was a children's book and I'm glad I had the foresight to read it first.
 

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I pretty much share your feelings on Thanksgiving. That's why we discuss it with the kids. I don't want them absorbing the traditional and incorrect happy little story about Thanksgiving. In fact, I was thinking last night about posting a thread in TAO about what Native Americans would like for me to tell my kids about Thanksgiving.<br><br>
I do read my kids books about Thanksgiving. I point out the inaccuracies and talk about how the "story" of Thanksgiving and what actually happened are different. I explain that people who write children's books want to tell a good "story."<br><br>
Why is it focused on so much in schools? Because Thanksgiving is an American cultural tradition and, as such, people are more interested in what it currently represents than in how historically accurate the story is.<br><br>
Namaste!<br><br>
Ps. 1621: A New Look at Thanksgiving by Catherine O'Neill Grace is the best book on the subject I have ever read. It is put out by National Geographic and it incorporates scenes from Plimouth Plantation, and it takes pains to point out the differences between the traditional story and actual events, using primary source material as reference.
 

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--Ps. 1621: A New Look at Thanksgiving by Catherine O'Neill Grace is the best book on the subject I have ever read. It is put out by National Geographic and it incorporates scenes from Plimouth Plantation, and it takes pains to point out the differences between the traditional story and actual events, using primary source material as reference--<br><br>
A wonderful book. I would also suggest checking out <a href="http://www.plimoth.org" target="_blank">www.plimoth.org</a>. Read the essays by the native peoples. I know at first glance it's looks like a traditional site-- and in some ways it is. It does make real the 'pilgrims' - their names, their work, their belief that they could have new lives etc. But it also celebrates the human lives of the people already here. Espcially read the essays by natives, and the work being done by Plimoth to educate people about the truth.<br><br>
We can and should aknowledge the loss experienced by the nations when the Euopeans arrived. We can also find a time to feel grateful and be with family. We can try to imagine what those pilgrim/ people were experiencing leaving their homes and coming so far. The women and children on the Mayflower weren't thinking genocide, after all. We can honor/encorporate it all. At any rate, we can't turn back the clock. We can know the real story, however.
 

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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>tuffykenwell</strong> <a href="/community/forum/post/6498736"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">I remember my brother and I having a talk about Thanksgiving in the US (he lived in Texas for six years and just recently moved back to Ontario). His opinion is that the reason Thanksgiving is *the* American Holiday (apparently it is celebrated by something like 90-95% of Americans) is that it isn't tied to religion. So you can be Christian, Hindu, Jewish, etc etc etc and you can still celebrate Thanksgiving.<br><br>
And seeing how public schools in general are secular institutions they probably build it up because it is one of the *few* holidays they can actually do that with...most of the others are religious in base.<br><br>
Steph</div>
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<img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/img/vbsmilies/smilies/yeahthat.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="yeah that">:
 

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In Canada Thanksgiving (which we celebrate in October) is pretty low-key. Everyone has a big meal with their family, and that's it--no talk of pilgrims or Indians or anything like that!<br><br>
To be honest I have always found the American Thanksgiving a little odd, the way all the stuff with pilgrims and Indians is built up--for the same reasons other ladies have posted here. What I always think when I see it, is what exactly did the Indians have to be thankful for when the European settlers arrived?<br><br>
It's nice to teach kids about their country's heritage, but not so cool if that heritage is whitewashed. I think Thanksgiving is a lovely holiday without all the pilgrim stuff.
 

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T'giving in American wasn't associated with Pilgrims and 'Indians' in the beginning. The American T'giving has an interesting history. It's worth reading up on it, just as an intellectual excersie.<br><br>
Someone in the thread said they ignore it and just eat the food. But it's probably better for the heart to learn all you can and figure out a way to make it meanigful. Or you can choose not to celebrate it all. But to know is power.
 

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I bought several books to read with ds in honor of Thanksgiving.<br><br><a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/redirect.html?ie=UTF8&linkCode=ur2&camp=1789&creative=9325&tag=motheringhud-20&location=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.amazon.com%2Fo%2FASIN%2F0792261399%2Fref%3Ds9_asin_title_1%2F002-0840203-2470459" target="_blank">1621: A New Look at Thanksgiving</a><br><br><a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/redirect.html?ie=UTF8&linkCode=ur2&camp=1789&creative=9325&tag=motheringhud-20&location=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.amazon.com%2FChildren-Longhouse-Puffin-Joseph-Bruchac%2Fdp%2F0140385045" target="_blank">Children of the Longhouse</a><br><br><a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/redirect.html?ie=UTF8&linkCode=ur2&camp=1789&creative=9325&tag=motheringhud-20&location=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.amazon.com%2FArrow-over-Door-Puffin-Chapters%2Fdp%2F0141305711%2Fsr%3D1-1%2Fqid%3D1163172145%2Fref%3Dpd_bbs_sr_1%2F002-0840203-2470459%3Fie%3DUTF8%26s%3Dbooks" target="_blank">The Arrow Over the Door</a><br><br>
And <a href="http://www.nativeharvest.com/scripts/prodView.asp?idproduct=167" target="_blank">The Sugarbush Children's Book</a><br><br>
We already own <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/redirect.html?ie=UTF8&linkCode=ur2&camp=1789&creative=9325&tag=motheringhud-20&location=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.amazon.com%2FCrazy-Horses-Vision-Joseph-Bruchac%2Fdp%2F1584302828%2Fsr%3D8-2%2Fqid%3D1163172283%2Fref%3Dpd_bbs_sr_2%2F002-0840203-2470459%3Fie%3DUTF8%26s%3Dbooks" target="_blank">Crazy Horse's Vision</a> , and <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/redirect.html?ie=UTF8&linkCode=ur2&camp=1789&creative=9325&tag=motheringhud-20&location=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.amazon.com%2FBirchbark-House-Louise-Erdrich%2Fdp%2F0786814543%2Fsr%3D1-1%2Fqid%3D1163172329%2Fref%3Dpd_bbs_sr_1%2F002-0840203-2470459%3Fie%3DUTF8%26s%3Dbooks" target="_blank">The Birchbark House,</a> .<br><br>
I figure Thanksgiving is a wealth of learning, you just have to decide where to look.
 

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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>jane-t-mommy</strong> <a href="/community/forum/post/6498753"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">I just got a few books out at the library to share the REAL history of thanksgiving with my 5yo dd. We live in New England, so the pilgrims and their story kind of have a local level of interest for us as well. I agree that the sacharrine stories school children have to endure are abominable, and unfortunately, it does not end with Thanksgiving. But since it is a non-denominational holiday, I think that the schools jump on it. I mean they have 6+ hours to fill up with a group of 5-6 year olds every day......</div>
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Could you share some of the titles? I have been wanting to get some age appropriate books about Thanksgiving for my 5yo, but I can't browse at the library cuz the 2yo pulls everything off the shelves and makes a break for the front door every 3 minutes! I don't want to get into anything graphic yet, but I do want to start with a simple, reality based understanding of the holiday.
 

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It depends on what you're looking for. 1621 is a great book for kids. You don't have to read every word. There is also a very nice picture book of real people (pictures of Plimouth interpreters) that shows the families living on board the Mayflower during their journey. I thought I owned it. I know I do, but I cannot find it. I may have leant it out. I cannot for the life of me remember the name.<br><br>
You can tell children that the Wampanoags did find these arrivals different from earlier euro travellors, who were only men , and took natives as slaves back to Spain and Portugal, among other places. The Mayflower arrivals contained familes- many women & children. The chief of the Wampanoags also lived with the British for a year to see what their intentions were.<br><br>
Whatever bad was to come in the future, these two early peoples did share a history and did trade and feed each other (mostly the natives feeding the euros). However tense it was, they did have curiosity about the each other.<br><br>
You can also tell children the history of T'giving in America, and how it changed.<br><br>
The Plimouth site has a decent bibliography and I particularly like the two cultures book. The books are very inexpensive. Oh, and the site is very slow. (for me, anyway.<br><br><a href="http://www.marketstream.com/acb/showprod.cfm?&DID=12&User_ID=870410&st=1233&st2=-90155185&st3=-57353031&CATID=6&ObjectGroup_ID=61" target="_blank">http://www.marketstream.com/acb/show...ectGroup_ID=61</a><br><br>
I *think* the Mayflower book might be called Journey To A New World, but I am not sure.<br><br>
There are important books here <a href="http://www.oyate.org/" target="_blank">http://www.oyate.org/</a>
 

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I think one of the reasons it is focused on, is IF you do it right, you can introduce kids to some interesting history, and engage kids in it b/c it can be tied to a holiday they are familiar with.<br><br>
WIth my 4 year old, I can tie in discussions about Native Americans and how they lived and what they lived in and what they ate, and I can also expose dd to how some of the first Europeans that lived here.<br><br>
Tammy
 

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great thread! Thanks for the book suggestions dharmamama, UUMom, LovemyBoo. Any others for young children. I am off to the library solo tomorrow so that I can actually check out books instead of tring to keep up with a "2yo pulls everything off the shelves and makes a break for the front door every 3 minutes!"<img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/lol.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="lol">
 

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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>Dillpicklechip</strong> <a href="/community/forum/post/6499250"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">In Canada Thanksgiving (which we celebrate in October) is pretty low-key. Everyone has a big meal with their family, and that's it--no talk of pilgrims or Indians or anything like that!</div>
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I used to nanny for a family ( in the states ) in which the mother was Canadian. She liked to talk about how ridiculous it was to celebrate thanksgiving in November, because it is a harvest holiday and nobody harvests so late, especially not in New England. They always celebrated Canadian Thanksgiving. Sometimes they visited the dad's family for the US holiday. It was pretty funny.
 

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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>Hera</strong> <a href="/community/forum/post/6506455"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">I used to nanny for a family ( in the states ) in which the mother was Canadian. She liked to talk about how ridiculous it was to celebrate thanksgiving in November, because it is a harvest holiday and nobody harvests so late, especially not in New England. They always celebrated Canadian Thanksgiving. Sometimes they visited the dad's family for the US holiday. It was pretty funny.</div>
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Actually, there is a world wide tradition for celebrating Harvest festivals anywhere between Sept to Nov. Festivities set in after the work is done, and everything is put 'to bed'. The Ancient Greeks, fi, celebrated Thesmophia to honor Demeter, the Goddess of Grain, for 9 days in Novemebr.<br><br>
ETA: As far as fowl goes, it important they be 'processed' in cool and cold weather to keep down the bacterial count. In times when refridgeration was unavailable, it would make sense to kill birds in early spring or late fall. Traditionally chicken, for example, was only a spring delicacy.<br><br>
ETA-- There is no record of the Mayflower folks eating turkey, but wild fowl, including turkey, was abundant, so probaby included. I just read that it was the poultry industry that sparked the turkey tradition beginning in the 1860's. Now, *that* is very American, indeed. lol<br><br>
Also, the Mayflower to not anchor in Plimoth until Dec of 1621, so perhaps the frist thanksgivings were also used to mark the aniversary of the landing? Held in Nov, because it was close to Dec, but not as cold? Just guessing, as we don't really know the date of the pilgrims' first celebration. It is guessed, through dated letters, that it was held sometime between Oct and Dec. William Bradford wrote of an account, and that letter is dated December 21. It would have been chilly to be partying at that time. ????
 

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oh what a good thread. I don't get exactly why Thanksgiving is so big, unless it's like a pp said about it being secular. We also skip Columbus day in our homeschool. Columbus wasn't the first person to discover the Americas; there were already people living here. Plus there's the fact that he never came to North America, as far as we know. I picked up a book from the library that looks like it also talks about the Native American side so we might read that. But on Thanksgiving, I've mostly reduced it to a time of thanksgiving & love, which for my family is a religious basis.<br><br>
love & light<br>
Joelle
 

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i checked out a thanksgiving book from the library that i liked better than the national geographic one. it's called <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/redirect.html?ie=UTF8&linkCode=ur2&camp=1789&creative=9325&tag=motheringhud-20&location=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.amazon.com%2FGiving-Thanks-1621-Harvest-Feast%2Fdp%2F0439243955%2Fsr%3D1-1%2Fqid%3D1163257819%2Fref%3Dsr_1_1%2F102-6260086-3327319%3Fie%3DUTF8%26s%3Dbooks" target="_blank">"Giving thanks : the 1621 harvest feast"</a> by by Kate Waters ; photographs by Russ Kendall and it's a lot like the national geographic 1621 one, also photos from plimoth, but it's told from the perspective of two boys, one english and one wampanoag.<br><br>
i think thanksgiving is big in the US because the day after thanksgiving is the huge cosumerist holiday of GoOutAndBuyABunchOfJunk Day. i think it's big in the schools because teachers like to have seasonal things to do in the classroom. september=apples and leaves, october=pumpkins and halloween, november=thanksgiving and turkeys, etc, etc, etc...
 

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<div style="margin:20px;margin-top:5px;">
<div class="smallfont" style="margin-bottom:2px;">Quote:</div>
<table border="0" cellpadding="6" cellspacing="0" width="99%"><tr><td class="alt2" style="border:1px inset;">
<div>Originally Posted by <strong>Hera</strong> <a href="/community/forum/post/6506455"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">I used to nanny for a family ( in the states ) in which the mother was Canadian. She liked to talk about how ridiculous it was to celebrate thanksgiving in November, because it is a harvest holiday and nobody harvests so late, especially not in New England. They always celebrated Canadian Thanksgiving. Sometimes they visited the dad's family for the US holiday. It was pretty funny.</div>
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I never thought the difference in time was very strange actually, I always figured it was because Canada has a colder climate and shorter growing season, so our harvest time is earlier. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/smile.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="smile"><br><br>
Beanma I think your idea about teachers needing something to represent November makes sense. Teachers do like to have a theme for every month--I noticed this when my dd was in kindergarten. And without Thanksgiving, November is pretty boring, it's just the month where you start looking forward to Christmas! <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/smile.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="smile">
 
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