A Native Lesson on Thanksgiving: Empathy

Codi Saxon

Facts By Jenna Kunze November 24, 2021 Longtime cultural educator Hope Flanagan (Seneca, Turtle Clan) states that, in instructing the accurate record of a holiday getaway that represented the commencing of colonization for the Indigenous Men and women of America—Thanksgiving—it doesn’t gain everyone to get angry.  For around a 10 […]

Longtime cultural educator Hope Flanagan (Seneca, Turtle Clan) states that, in instructing the accurate record of a holiday getaway that represented the commencing of colonization for the Indigenous Men and women of America—Thanksgiving—it doesn’t gain everyone to get angry. 

For around a 10 years, Flanagan taught in the community school process in Florida, the place she introduced classes about Indigenous society. But just about every Thanksgiving, she’d walk into the lunchroom and see a sea of kids with magic-marker on their faces and paper baggage as headdresses. 

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“You wouldn’t consider the amount of children that I understood in Florida—and adults— that genuinely believe that … there is certainly not genuinely any indigenous folks left,” she said. “You could say, ‘that can make me mad.’ But what great does that do? Is that aiding anyone?”

Just after 14 years in Florida, Flanagan has improved her viewers. She’s a cultural educator at Desire of Wild Health and fitness, a Minneapolis-based Indigenous-led nonprofit that is effective to expand Indigenous crops and simultaneously teach children how to steward them and harvest the medicines and meals they produce. Just one of the nonprofit’s sayings is “we mature seeds and we improve leaders.”

Now, rather of educating non-Native kids classes of Thanksgiving and the a long time of genocide and resilence that adopted, she teaches standpoint to Native college students who may possibly nicely know the history and come to feel slighted by it.

“That anger isn’t serving to us,” she claimed. “What can we do to turn that tale all-around?”

Flanagan does a Thanksgiving exercise in which she casts pupils to role participate in just one of four people: Massasoit, the leader of the Wampanoag  people today who initially encountered the Pilgrims Edward Winslow, a chief of the Plymouth Colony who traveled more than on the Mayflower a resident from Minimal Earth, a predominantly Indigenous American economical housing device in Minneapolis and a little blonde headed boy from Florida.

Other classmates question the learners job actively playing issues, and the students role participating in have to answer in character, Flanagan said. She could start off with ‘What is Thanksgiving?”

Massasoit could possibly say he puts out every day prayers, so that is Thanksgiving to him.

A woman residing at the Indigenous Housing job might go on a rant and say ‘Thanksgiving is when the colonists took absent our way of everyday living.’

Winslow may possibly say that Europe was overpopulated and Europeans ended up obtaining all sorts of disorders as a end result, so they travelled to The us in which land looked less overpopulated. The Indigenous Wampanoag served the pilgrims plant crops to endure, and so the 1st harvest signifies Thanksgiving to him.

The minor boy from Florida may possibly say that Thanksgiving was the time when the Pilgrims shared their food items with the Native Us residents, who no longer exist today.

“He or she sitting in that chair really has to check out to emphasize, what would this man or woman feel? Why would this individual believe that?” Flanagan stated.

When you communicate about history, Flanagan suggests, you should really keep in mind that, broken down, the word is telling “his story.” 

“The serious dilemma is, who is he, and what is their function for telling this story?”

Flanagan said the lesson is definitely about modifying the way Native young children feel, and steering them away from the anger that normally turns communities of shade against their have.

“The truth of the matter of it is, not a single edition is ever the true reality. Everybody’s story is their story. In which we get in difficulties is when we assume we’re the only kinds that have a tale.”

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About The Writer

Jenna Kunze

Creator: Jenna KunzeE mail: This email handle is becoming safeguarded from spambots. You have to have JavaScript enabled to check out it.

Employees Writer

Jenna Kunze is a reporter for Indigenous News On the net and Tribal Business enterprise News. Her bylines have appeared in The Arctic Sounder, Higher Place Information, Indian Country Nowadays, Smithsonian Magazine and Anchorage Day-to-day Information. In 2020, she was 1 of 16 U.S. journalists picked by the Pulitzer Heart to report on the consequences of climate change in the Alaskan Arctic location. Prior to that, she served as lead reporter at the Chilkat Valley Information in Haines, Alaska. Kunze is centered in New York.


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