Rethinking Thanksgiving

November 21, 2006 1 min read
  • Save to favorites
  • Print

The days of quaint school Thanksgiving assemblies featuring pint-sized Pilgrims and Indians breaking bread together may be on the way out. Increasingly, school and teachers are taking a harder look at the traditional Thanksgiving celebrations and turning a critical eye to what might have been left out. San Francisco Teacher Bill Morgan, for example, walks into his 3rd grade classroom and takes away students’ pencils and backpacks, saying he’s “discovered” them. When the kids protest, he uses it as a jumping-off point for a lesson on the complexities of Pilgrim/Indian relationships. Some American Indian organizations are embracing such methods, arguing that even young children should get an accurate idea of American history. But other American Indians disagree. Chuck Narcho, a substitute teacher who belongs to the Maricopa and Tohono O’odham tribes, favors keeping Thanksgiving lessons light. “They can learn the truths when they grow up,” he said. “Caring, sharing and giving—that is what was originally intended.” James Loewen, author of Lies My Teacher Told Me: Everything Your High School History Textbook Got Wrong, confirms that the first Thanksgiving was actually a high point in Pilgrim/Indian relations. “Relations were strained, but yet the holiday worked...[But] after that, bad things happened,” he said, referring to a period of intense fighting in the 17th century.

A version of this news article first appeared in the Web Watch blog.


Jobs Virtual Career Fair for Teachers and K-12 Staff
Find teaching jobs and other jobs in K-12 education at the EdWeek Top School Jobs virtual career fair.

EdWeek Top School Jobs

Teacher Jobs
Search over ten thousand teaching jobs nationwide — elementary, middle, high school and more.
View Jobs
Principal Jobs
Find hundreds of jobs for principals, assistant principals, and other school leadership roles.
View Jobs
Administrator Jobs
Over a thousand district-level jobs: superintendents, directors, more.
View Jobs
Support Staff Jobs
Search thousands of jobs, from paraprofessionals to counselors and more.
View Jobs

Read Next

Education Briefly Stated: October 11, 2023
Here's a look at some recent Education Week articles you may have missed.
8 min read
Education Briefly Stated: September 27, 2023
Here's a look at some recent Education Week articles you may have missed.
9 min read
Education Briefly Stated: September 20, 2023
Here's a look at some recent Education Week articles you may have missed.
8 min read
Education From Our Research Center What's on the Minds of Educators, in Charts
Politics, gender equity, and technology—how teachers and administrators say these issues are affecting the field.
1 min read
Stylized illustration of a pie chart
Traci Daberko for Education Week