Sunday, November 5, 2017

Thanksgiving To Do List for Teachers


   What to do about Thanksgiving learning? I have been searching the web, and there is so much learning material on the Pilgrims and the life of William Bradford, which is mostly all interesting and inspiring. But what about Squanto, and the culture of the Native Americans?

   This way of life is also important to understand. The Native Americans might have a different philosophy than Europeans on what is, or was important in life. Many of their old customs involved concern about land management, and conservation. For example, the Southeastern woodland people used concepts such as burning the fields, intercropping and multiple cropping to keep the soil rich. They planted nut and fruit trees in the same field, which helped aid the fertility of the soil. They were not hunter gatherers, but farmers who lived in settlements. They also believed that the land belonged to everyone in the village, and the gardens were communal. A Native American belief was and is, to respect all people. All of this was a far cry from what I had learned in school.

  The first explorers happen to carry small pox and other diseases. It has been said that over 90% of the Native Americans had died of European diseases by the time the Pilgrims had arrived. My husband, whose grandmother was an Apache, said that if the Native Americans had resistance to the diseases, the Pilgrims and others would of had a terrible time establishing themselves here.

   Thanksgiving might be a good time to study cultures that have been misunderstood for generations. Here are some of my favorite short films and books.

1. A narrative film about the life of William Bradford.

2. The Surprising Origin of Thanksgiving Foods.

3. Who was Squanto?

4. The Ten Commandments of the Native Americans.

5. The Pilgrims: Story Time with Mr. Bean.

6. A Quote of William Bradford.


1621: A New Look at Thanksgiving, by Catherine O'Neill Grace and Margaret M. Bruchac.

Squanto's Journey: The Story of the First Thanksgiving,  by Joseph Bruchac

The Pilgrims' First Thanksgiving, by Ann McGovern  

The Island of the Blue Dolphin, by Scott O'Dell

Great Speeches by Native Americans, by Bob Blaisdell

The Journal of Jasper Jonathan Pierce: A Pilgrim Boy, Plymouth, 1620, by Ann Rinaldi


Native American Netroots. (2017). Diary 1277. Retrieved from

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