Monday, November 19, 2007

The Lies I Told My Daughter

It's Thanksgiving week, and we've been busy over here at Walnut Grove. We spent the majority of last week creating turkeys, listing all of the many things we are thankful for, and reading books about the first Thanksgiving. Yes, we've been reading all about how the Wapanoag tribe, led by Squanto, saved the pilgrims from starvation by teaching the good pilgrims how to grow corn, hunt, and fish, and to show their gratitude, the pilgrims celebrated that first harvest by inviting their new Native American friends to a 3-day feast of peace and harmony.

Therein lies the problem. I sort of have a problem with that version of the story.

Don't get me wrong. I love the holiday and what it represents. Thanksgiving is a time of reflection, when we can all get together with family and friends and appreciate all it is we are blessed with in our lives. From preparing the Thanksgiving menu to watching to parades on television, it's a festive day that our family truly loves. There is even a very small part of me that enjoys the reenactments and retellings of that first Thanksgiving. I think this is because it is a story that is so deeply rooted in American History, passed down from generation to generation.

Or perhaps I enjoy it because deep down I wish that that was the way it really happened.

But authors like James Loewen know better, and he has worked very hard to amend the very sanitary version that teachers have taught for years. And I find myself, as a first year homeschool teacher, at a crossroads. Do I tell my innocent five-year-old the true story? Do I tell her that by the time those pilgrims arrived at Plymouth rock in 1621, most of the Wapanoag Indians had died from diseases passed to them by Europeans? Do I tell her that these pilgrims recorded prayers they gave thanking God for wiping out all of "savages" so that they could start their lives in America alone and in peace? Do I mention that even though Squanto and the other Indians did indeed help them survive, the pilgrims repaid them by stealing food and items from many of their camps?

Because that, my friends, is what really happened. And although I know this, and the minority inside of me was screaming to tell Annika the truth, I didn't.
I just read that lovely story to my very innocent 5-year-old...because I didn't want to tarnish the image of a holiday we will celebrate in four days.

Did I do the right thing?

Friday, November 09, 2007

More Friday Fun!

Does this qualify as phy-ed???