DIVERSITY MEMO: Thanksgiving & Native American Month: Who’s Missing from the Table?

21 Oct

Dear Teacher (and Leader),

November brings the holiday of Thanksgiving. It’s a time of year when we are reminded of our blessings, and encouraged to express gratitude for all that we have. It’s also a national holiday that embraces all of the many ethnic groups of people that make up the immense diversity of America.

November is also Native American — or American Indian month. Often the myths and stories of America’s first inhabitants meeting the early immigrants is remembered in image, story and often in plays in our schools.

As educators we carry the responsibility to address the complicated and painful aspects of our history that occurred between the pilgrim settlers and the Native peoples of North America. These enduring images of oppression and violence from the past call out for fresh examination today. In this RaceBridges Diversity Memo can lead to a new consideration of your students’ own experiences of inclusion and exclusion. It also offers a more rounded understanding of the Thanksgiving holiday.

Native American Month also offers a rich opportunity to become more familiar with the contemporary life of Native America peoples. The more we learn the more we are able to transform our disappointments and anger over the past into action today working together for a more just world.

In this RaceBridges Diversity Memo, you’ll find a classroom activity and ideas for longer lesson plans. You’ll find links to helpful sites. Check out the unusual Native American stories with lesson plans on this Race Bridges for Schools website to support your exploration of the rich and often complex holiday of Thanksgiving.

May this season offer important lessons, opportunities for reflection, and many reasons for gratitude.



Classroom Activities

This brief lesson-starter suggests activities without being overly prescriptive so that you can adapt the activity on Thanksgiving to your classroom. A whole-classroom action item is included at the end.

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Lesson plans for your classroom that use personal stories about civility and Resources to help you plan lessons about this topic.

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Lesson Plan Ideas

Words to Remember
How do you get your students involved, spark discussion or build this topic into your lesson plan? Some great ideas to get started in the classroom.

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Some quotes and words that are lasting and provocative. For your reflection and use with your students.

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A Checklist for Teachers

Check these points out as you begin exploring the issue and themes of Thanksgiving and Native American Heritage.

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Use these questions to inspire your own thinking and teaching about Thanksgiving and Native American history.

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If you liked this article, you might like:

» JUNETEENTH: A Celebration For Today
» Moving from PC (Politically Correct) to PC (Personally Caring) Language
» Another New Beginning
» Learn More About Kwanzaa
» DIVERSITY MEMO : Using Storytelling to Celebrate Special Events in your school or organization