Early in my teaching career, a principal said I should do something "Thanksgivingish" around the upcoming Thanksgiving Break. Thanksgivingish. What did that even mean? Apparently, he wanted my students to make horns of plenty, Pilgrim hats and hand turkeys.
I asked my students what they knew about Native Americans, and they said something like, "Like at Thanksgiving?" but couldn't tell me much more. That was all the research I needed. I decided to go in a different direction. We were going spend the day before Thanksgiving Break learning about Indigenous Peoples.
Then I hit a road block. There just weren't that many good, inclusive, middle school friendly resources to use. They were either too old or scholarly or too young and, at best, accidentally racially insensitive. So, I did some research and created a few:
In writing these resources, I made every effort to use authentic names, respect Indigenous beliefs and values while presenting their cultures in a middle school friendly format. However, they have not been vetted by any official body representing Indigenous Peoples.
So, if we are going to do something "Thanksgivingish" this year, let's do better than headdresses and hand turkeys. Let's present our students with an accurate, inclusive and culturally sensitive picture of Indigenous cultures.
If you are interested in any of the resources listed above, click the links and check them out, and don't forget to visit my store for more great Social Studies resources.
I'm a 14 year veteran teacher that loves teaching, coaching, writing, and my family.