I struggle with this holiday, like I struggle with most American-history holidays, because we celebrants tend to remember only one side of the holiday story – the White side, the colonizer side, the winning side. Though my people (only 2nd generation here) came over after most of the overt colonizing had taken place, I struggle with the lack of respect for and remembrance of the Native Peoples living in the Americas that is still prevalent in today’s society, despite often living next to people from those cultures still alive today.
This isn’t intended to be a soapbox, so I’ll step down now and simply say this book, published by National Geographic (Random House), does a decent job of taking into consideration both the Wampanoag Indians’ history as well as the Pilgrims’ history when discussing this holiday.
1621: A New Look at Thanksgiving
by Catherine O’Neill Grace & Margaret Bruchac, photographs by Sisse Brimberg & Cotton Coulson
Hardcover: 9780792270270, $17.95
Paperback: 9780792261391, $7.95
Reenacted at the Plimoth Plantation, full-color photographs of people in historical regalia accompany sections of text written by various historians of both White and Native American Indian backgrounds. The text, written on a level to be enjoyed by 8-12-year-olds (and up!), may startle you by laying to rest misconceptions and myths you didn’t even know you perpetuated/believed.
Also check out Plimoth Plantation’s interactive First Thanksgiving website.
Happy Thanksgiving to those who celebrate
and/or commemorate this American holiday!