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A Revisionist Thanksgiving: Teaching Racial Conflict To Students November 23, 2006

Posted by C.A.R.D in American Indians, Card, Discriminate, Discrimination, Racism, Racist, Tribe.

LONG BEACH, Calif. | Teacher Bill Morgan walked into his third-grade class wearing a black Pilgrim hat and began taking pencils, backpacks and glue sticks from his pupils.

He told them the items now belonged to him because he “discovered” them.

Morgan is among elementary school teachers who have ditched the traditional Thanksgiving lesson, in which children dress up like Indians and Pilgrims and act out their first meetings. He has replaced it with a more realistic look at the complex relationship between Indians and white settlers.

Morgan said he still wanted his pupils at Cleveland Elementary School in San Francisco to celebrate Thanksgiving. But he added: “What I am trying to portray is a different point of view.”

Some see Morgan and teachers like him as extreme.

“I think that is very sad,” said Janice Shaw Crouse, a former college dean and public high school teacher who is a spokeswoman for Concerned Women for America, a conservative organization. “He is teaching his students to hate their country. That is a very distorted view of history, a distorted view of Thanksgiving.”

Even American Indians are divided on how to approach a holiday that some think symbolizes the start of a hostile takeover of their lands.

Chuck Narcho of the Maricopa and Tohono O’odham tribes who works as a substitute teacher in Los Angeles, said younger children should not be burdened with all the gory details of U.S. history.

“If you are going to teach, you need to keep it positive,” he said. “They can learn about the truths when they grow up. Caring, sharing and giving — that is what was originally intended.”

Becky Wyatt, a teacher at Kettering Elementary School in Long Beach, decided to alter the costumes for the annual Thanksgiving play a few years ago after local Indians spoke out against pupils wearing feathers, which are sacred in their culture. Now, children wear simple headbands.

Laverne Villalobos of the Omaha Tribe of Nebraska who now lives in Pacifica near San Francisco, considers Thanksgiving a day of mourning.

She went before the school board last week and asked for a ban on Thanksgiving re-enactments and pupils dressing up as Indians. She also complained about November’s lunch menu, which pictured a caricature of an Indian boy.

C.a.r.d {Citizens Against Racism and Discrimination} Source: Kansascity.com

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