Updated: Mar 17, 2019
I recently shared with a friend my plans of sporting a new shirt I purchased that states, “Native Americans Discovered Columbus.” I plan on wearing it on Thanksgiving Day in protest of the abridged and feel-good myth we have been taught to believe of settlers and Native Americans peacefully breaking bread in celebration of a bountiful harvest. My friend accused me of enjoying the provocation of it all. “You like to be provocative,” he responded.
In reflection, my mind was with the teachers who take risks to teach difficult truths and question accepted, normative “facts” in an increasingly skeptical and misinformation society. I then pondered if classrooms are truly safe and brave spaces set up to allow for civil discourse and disagreement. Is yours? How do you know? Have you questioned your own philosophies regarding issues with embedded components of social justice?
This post is not intended to persuade you to protest future Thanksgiving Day festivities, but instead to examine diverse perspectives and how shared experiences might be observed differently. If you are interested in exploring and teaching about Thanksgiving in a socially conscious way, Teaching for Tolerance has a great collection of lessons and activities. The following article provides further insight and links to online resources and learning plans: https://www.tolerance.org/magazine/teaching-thanksgiving-in-a-socially-responsible-way
Go forth with courage, an open heart, and an open mind.