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Teaching About Thanksgiving

Welcome Teachers!
We love for you to teach about Thanksgiving going beyond the myth to the real, accurate portrayals of American Indians and the history of Thanksgiving.

Please use these resources for accurate history on Thanksgiving, harvest celebrations and the role of American Indians in our society.

- North Carolina State Advisory Council on Indian Education

Online Resources:

American Indian Perspectives on Thanksgiving (pdf, 4.8mb)
This is an ideal resource for teachers’ grades 4-8 that gives the American Indian Perspective on Thanksgiving through three themes that delve into understanding American Indians and the deeper meaning of the Thanksgiving Holiday. This is a colorful resource developed by the National Museum of the American Indian.

Are You Teaching the Real Story of the First Thanksgiving?
This resource will help you determine if you are teaching the true Thanksgiving story or a blend of myth and facts.

Deconstructing the Myths of the First Thanksgiving
This thorough resource addresses 11 myths of Thanksgiving and debunks each one. It is a must have resource for teachers to accurately teach about the “Real Thanksgiving Story”.

Harvest Ceremony: Beyond the Thanksgiving Myth (pdf, 1.1mb)
This study resource from the National Museum of the American Indian can be adapted for various grade levels. It gives a historical perspective on how two groups of neighbors, the Wampanoag people, and the newest neighbors, the European immigrants, came together for a Harvest celebration, which is today known as the first Thanksgiving.

Native American Heritage Month Resources for Teachers
This is a teacher resource to assist them in going beyond typical stereotypes in the classroom. It includes suggested books, curricula, and media resources.

Teaching about Thanksgiving
This publication is informative regarding Thanksgiving facts without passing on historical distortions, racial and cultural stereotypes. It contains a list of texts and resources regarding the complete facts about the “First” Thanksgiving. You will find appropriate study and discussion questions, ideas for enrichment, ways to avoid old stereotypes as well as various Native food recipes. This resource was developed by the Fourth World Documentation Project endorsed by the Superintendent of Public Instruction State of Washington.

Ten Things Teachers Should Never Do When Teaching Native Kids
A resource for teachers on how to navigate the classroom with American Indian kids. This is particularly helpful for teachers who teach predominantly non-Native children, but may have no or very few Native American Indian children.

The True Story of the First Thanksgiving, Muse Magazine (pdf, 3.3mb)
This is a child-targeted article that addresses many Thanksgiving myths in a fun, engaging manner.


Recommended Texts About Thanksgiving
from oyate.org

Bruchac, Margaret M. (Abenaki), and Catherine Grace O'Neill, 1621: A New Look at Thanksgiving. Washington, D.C.: National Geographic Society, 2001, grades 4-up

Hunter, Sally M. (Ojibwe), Four Seasons of Corn: A Winnebago Tradition. Minneapolis: Lerner Publications, 1997, grades 4-6.

Peters, Russell M. (Wampanoag), Clambake: A Wampanoag Tradition. Minneapolis: Lerner Publications, 1992, grades 4-6.

Regguinti, Gordon (Ojibwe), The Sacred Harvest: Ojibway Wild Rice Gathering. Minneapolis: Lerner Publications, 1992, grades 4-6.

Seale, Doris (Santee/Cree), Beverly Slapin, and Carolyn Silverman (Cherokee), eds., Thanksgiving: A Native Perspective. Berkeley: Oyate, 1998, teacher resource.

Swamp, Jake (Mohawk), Giving Thanks: A Native American Good Morning Message. New York: Lee & Low, 1995, all grades.

Wittstock, Laura Waterman (Seneca), Ininatig's Gift of Sugar: Traditional Native Sugarmaking. Minneapolis: Lerner Publications, 1993, grades 4-6

For more information, contact sacie@dpi.nc.gov