Thanksgiving didn’t begin in 1621. It was a Native American custom.


Thanksgiving has turn into a time to assemble with household and eat turkey, however the vacation could be extra complicated for Native Individuals. The tales of their ancestors, who had been a part of the 1621 meal often called the primary Thanksgiving, aren’t advised with the identical significance because the tales of the Pilgrims. These colonists included about 100 settlers who had arrived from England the yr earlier than.

Renée Gokey, a member of the Jap Shawnee Tribe of Oklahoma, is the trainer companies coordinator on the Smithsonian Establishment’s National Museum of the American Indian. She lately talked with KidsPost about the right way to respect the historical past of Thanksgiving whereas together with Native American traditions.

Query: What was happening between Native Individuals and colonists (in what’s now Massachusetts) in the course of the 1600s?

Reply: There have been 69 autonomous villages inside the Wampanoag nation, and every chief (or sachem) of their village would accumulate tribute from the individuals of his specific village, equivalent to a portion of the hunt. The harvest and meals was usually redistributed to individuals who wanted it within the village. Individuals took care of each other. The [Pilgrims] who got here right here within the 1620s had been, we all know the story, searching for extra non secular freedom. They usually actually relied on the Native individuals who taught them among the methods to develop crops.

Q: Are you able to speak concerning the Native American practices of gratitude?

A: So Native individuals have at all times had, and we nonetheless do have, both larger ceremonies [or] seasonal ceremonies of gratitude. In my tribe, we honor the corn. We’ve got a bean dance. We’ve got a pumpkin dance. … Traditions of giving thanks lengthen all year long and are considerable and various in Native communities right now.

Q: How do Native American individuals and individuals who research Native American historical past really feel concerning the present custom of Thanksgiving?

A: There’s not one reply about it. My pal Dennis Zotigh wrote a very nice weblog about “How do Native American individuals really feel about Thanksgiving?” And the solutions are actually different. Some individuals have fun very similar to different individuals, they could carry meals from their tradition and custom. … There are some Native Individuals who do take into account it a day of mourning, although, as a result of it does signify a narrative that’s not advised in full, that has not included particularly Wampanoag voices and the people who find themselves the descendants right now.

Q: Are there issues that younger individuals can do to raised perceive Native Individuals’ reference to Thanksgiving throughout this vacation?

A: Decide one meals on the desk and actually begin to speak about it, and this might occur as soon as every week with your loved ones. What’s a meals that’s on the desk that you simply need to study extra about? What [are] its origins? The place does it come from? Do individuals nonetheless eat it? And the way have new cultures tailored it?

Keepunumuk: Weeachumun’s Thanksgiving Story,” by Danielle Greendeer, Anthony Perry and Alexis Bunten (ages 3 to 7). A stunning image ebook that focuses on the Native Individuals and the pure treasures of what would turn into America main as much as the primary Thanksgiving.

“1621: A New Look at Thanksgiving (National Geographic),” by Catherine O’Neill Grace (ages 8 to 12). An illustrated picture essay that reveals a extra balanced and traditionally correct model of the harvest celebration in 1621.

Do All Indians Live in Tipis? Questions and Answers From the National Museum of the American Indian (Second Version),” by the Nationwide Museum of the American Indian (ages 13 to 17). This ebook debunks myths about Native Individuals and provides helpful details about Native American historical past and tradition.

A reminder from the KidsPost staff: Our tales are geared to 7- to 13-year-olds. We welcome dialogue from readers of all ages, however please comply with our group guidelines and make feedback acceptable for that age group.

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