Pilgrims & Indians

If you know me then you know that this is my absolute positively most favorite time of year.

I love fall leaves. I love Christmas trees. I love Native American Heritage Month (Nov 1-Nov 30). I love everything about this season. This is my FAVORITE season. images

As we embark on this holiday of festivities I spend quite a bit of time on Pinterest searching for decorations and presents. To my dismay I also come across quite a few crafts for this holiday season as well, most of which were targeted at elementary school teachers. I am well aware of what this season means for teachers. An uproar of excitement and an attention span of 2-3 minutes for your kiddos. But please, despite this frustration, do not do your children the disservice of false and insensitive crafts such as the one to the right. —->

 

*I am NOT pictured here*
*I am NOT pictured here*

This is the first time in the past few years that I have come ‘back’ into contact with these crafts and activities. Yes, ‘back’.

Despite the fact that I grew up in a predominantly Native American community with predominantly Native American classmates and teachers, I still remember dressing up as pilgrims and ‘Indians’ around this time of year. I was ignorant of the meaning. I only knew what my teachers told me. The cliche story of the first Thanksgiving in which Native Americans and Pilgrims sat down together and had a wonderful meal and they were friends forever and ever, happily ever after. In case you were unaware, this is NOT true. I left elementary school with this beautiful idea of peace amongst my people and the Pilgrims.

 

In US History I was provided bits and pieces of the truth of this history but obtained the bulk of the truth in college. I was shocked, awed and downright surprised at the lies I had been taught. So, to my elementary school teachers, let’s not teach our children lies. No honey, I beg of you, DO NOT attempt to explain to your kindergarteners the definition of mass murder or the genocide of a cultural identity. No, that will without a doubt lead to an emotional breakdown and disorder that you can hardly understand. However, seek to break the mold of what elementary students are typically thought. I am well aware that Elementary School teachers do not have all of the knowledge concerning Native Americans! But I have found a few great places to start. This list of activities provide the opportunity for students to partake in ‘real’ Native American crafts and tackle stereotypes they may unknowingly have. Learn NC (an educational resource housed at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill) has compiled a list of vetted lesson plans that are phenomenal and adaptable! For those of you in North Carolina! Learn NC has a specific unit plan on North Carolina Native Americans!

I find myself consistently harping on stereotypes and I find that they are constantly reinforced. However, with the right information and resources YOU as a teacher/ educator/ life changer can ensure that your students leave your classroom with valuable and valid information!

As a certified teacher and future school counselor, I respect your effort, appreciate your work and am open to any questions you may have about this topic!

Another great resource: Lies My Teacher Told Me

xoxo

Miss Locklear

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