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Thursday, November 26, 2015

The Other Side of Thanksgiving

I find myself disturbed by this holiday in a way I wasn't before. Possibly it's all those classes for the Intercultural Communications degree. Maybe it's the sheer number of friends of various cultures I have and therefore my recent comprehension of history being written by the victors (I understood it intellectually before but I did not really grok). Possibly it's all the culture clash going on in the world just now.

Most likely it's all three, with a side of public schools' and private preschools' take on the topic.

Abby (in seventh grade) says that they learned about how the Natives helped out and then the Pilgrims gave them diseases and things (I imagine this was in fourth or fifth grade; out here in Salish country the public school does a lot of Lewis and Clark and Sacajawea and Oregon Trail stuff. They try to be fair).

Lizzy, four years ago.
Miz Liz has learned that Native Americans got sick from Pilgrims and that the Pilgrims took over the Natives' lands. She got this from bits and pieces from preschool and the Magic Treehouse series of books.

You'll notice if you click that link that the negative side of Thanksgiving was not discussed back then, but Lizzy has picked it up anyway. This could be from friends and family (Abby was very vocal  on the topic during that fourth-grade year). And it could be from preschool things done at a time other than November; it was a very good preschool.

I tend to celebrate Thanksgiving in the same secular spirit (yes, I know it's an oxymoron) as I do Halloween or Christmas or Easter. To me it's a harvest festival, no more and no less.

Am I thankful? Certainly, and for several reasons. Not the least of which is having been born in a place that at its best tries to be fair... though it fails more often than not.

But that doesn't mean I'm not aware of the unwilling sacrifices made.