A group of educators from the Oklahoma City Public Schools Native American Student Services have put together a new free Thanksgiving curriculum guide for students in Pre-K through 4th grade. A Story of Survival: The Wampanoag and the English offers a more two-sided perspective on colonial American history, as well as some alternative activities that don't dig into unfortunate Native American stereotypes. Or, as they explain in the intro:
This Thanksgiving Lesson plan booklet has emerged as a need expressed by our teachers to have something meaningful, tangible and easy to follow in their classrooms. The booklet also emerged because our parents were frustrated with their Native child coming home with make-shift feathers and inaccurate stories of Thanksgiving.
This booklet provides a number of useful tools:
1. It provides a quick facts for teachers to read to learn about the English and the Indigenous people of this land.
2. It provides a list of "what not to do" in order to not offend or provide harmful and inaccurate images to ALL children.
3. This booklet gives lessons that are grade appropriate with photos to follow.
While I'm sure there are some people who will recoil at the mere thought of re-envisioning history, the guide doesn't a pretty nice job of presenting a fair perspective — in fact, there are even some activities that encourage students to think about stories from both singular, and plural perspectives:
Teacher will start a Know-Wonder-Learn chart about the story of Thanksgiving. After the chart, the teacher will discuss the quick facts. This can be done one day, or one topic each day. Students can research on fact and present what they learned to the class. After the lesson has been taught, the teacher can fill in the L on the chart.
• Wampanoag Only
• English Only
• Wampanoag & English
I know that Oklahoma has one of the largest Native American populations in the country, so even though this particular guide is not put together by Wampanoag people, I feel like it does its due diligence — at least, more than my own education had done, despite the fact that I grew not far from Wampanoag land.
A Story of Survival: The Wampanoag and the English — A Thanksgiving Lesson Plan Booklet from a Native American Perspective [Oklahoma City Public Schools Native American Student Services]