Every year I write something about the actual history of this American holiday, versus the modern interpretation. I used to just send it to friends and family, and then last year I posted it on my blog. This year, I noticed some interesting stories in the news like this one about school teachers emphasizing the “Indians’ side”.
Teacher Bill Morgan walks into his third-grade class wearing a black Pilgrim hat made of construction paper and begins snatching up pencils, backpacks and glue sticks from his pupils. He tells them the items now belong to him because he “discovered” them. The reaction is exactly what Morgan expects: The kids get angry and want their things back.
Morgan is among elementary school teachers who have ditched the traditional Thanksgiving lesson, in which children dress up like Indians and Pilgrims and act out a romanticized version of their first meetings.
I do not discount the importance of this subject, or the lesson taught by Morgan. However, I find it strange that instead of just unravelling the yarns by exposing the true history of the holiday, the teachers actually perpetuate the modern interpretation before attempting to revise it again. Who knows, at this rate of distance from its origins, maybe in a hundred years there will be a fat man in a red suit called Old Saint Lincoln who brings turkeys to children who have been nice to their neighbors…
Personally, I always think of the holiday in terms of a President who wanted a united nation to rise above its years of discontent and discord in order to notice the bounty of good deeds done even under the duress of civil war — to recognize and therefore seek a common humanitarian purpose.