Education Opinion

Giving thanks

By Jessica Shyu — November 22, 2006 1 min read
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What is Thanksgiving like on the Navajo Nation? Thanksgiving is paper turkeys adorning my classroom door with all that we’re thankful. Thanksgiving is a whole community gathering for a turkey dinner on Wednesday in the cafeteria. Thanksgiving is going around the cafeteria and getting hugs from a dozen moms, dads, grandmas, grandpas and aunties who barely looked twice at me last year. (And reminders from them to not party too hard this weekend in Washington, D.C.)

For all who wonder what it’s like to teach and celebrate Thanksgiving with Native Americans, I have no real insights for you. From popping in and out of elementary and secondary classrooms at my school, it appears that Thanksgiving is taught much the same way it was taught to me in grade school: Native Americans, Pilgrims and turkey. But more importantly taught is the spirit of thankfulness and being with family and friends—lessons that should be taught year-round. However, it is interesting to note that my school does not take a holiday for Columbus Day; instead, we get Navajo Sovereignty Day off in April. :-)

The opinions expressed in On the Reservation are strictly those of the author(s) and do not reflect the opinions or endorsement of Editorial Projects in Education, or any of its publications.