I’m preparing to write a letter to my granddaughter’s pre-school. If anybody thinks I have this situation wrong, please let me know? I attended a “Grandparents Breakfast” at the school, which turned out to be a Thanksgiving celebration as well. A few different pre-school age groups put on brief songs/presentations. The kind that if your own child or grandchild wasn’t in it; you’d never watch.
When my granddaughter’s group lined up and marched in. I saw several male and female Pilgrims. Some kids dressed as Turkeys, a few Preachers and several male and female Indians. The differentiation between male and female is important. Whenever the narrator mentioned the male Pilgrims or the female Indians or the turkeys. They each had a saying they repeated. I remember when the Preachers were mentioned. They said, “Praise the Lord.”
Back to the Indians. There were white children dressed as Indians, brown children, black children. No actual Native Americans as far as I can tell. My son and I had a discussion about cultural appropriation and racist much? I wondered aloud, “What would they do for Black History Month? Pearl Harbor Day? Juneteenth?” Would they have little white, brown and black slaves celebrating their freedom?
I decided to research Thanksgiving; I wondered specifically about the Second Thanksgiving to see how the Indians fared? It crossed my mind that the history would have been written by the winners and the Pilgrims would not be made to look bad. In fact the second Thanksgiving was written to be more wonderful than the first. An extended drought threatened the Pilgrim’s crops. The prayers of the Pilgrims resulted in weeks of rain just in time to salvage the harvest. It’s alleged that the treaty between these particular Pilgrims and Indians lasted almost fifty years. Longer than almost all the rest. I guess they should be celebrated for keeping the truce longer than most, Before ultimately taking the Indian land. Pushing west those they didn’t kill.
Many Native American’s take issue with the way Thanksgiving is portrayed. Accenting the harmony between the Native American and the White Man. Any truth in that portrayal would be measured in moments and not decades. The history of slavery is being rewritten in Texas and elsewhere as we speak. The history of the Native American has long ago been changed in favor of the White man. When I learned in school about “Manifest Destiny” and “The Monroe Doctrine.” They were about the God given right of White people to take the lands that God obviously intended for them. The Native American’s that were already there were merely an obstacle to be overcome.
So as I watched the cute little kids (and they were cute) in their Native American garb. Singing of the wonderful relationship between red and white with no inkling of what was to come. I wondered would school children ever dress as interned Japanese Citizens or Chinese railroad workers… slaves? So I’m going to write my letter and tell them why I think it wrong. If any disagree with me; let me know?