This is an inspiring and thoughtful lesson unit covering American Indian Perspectives on Thanksgiving for grades 4 through 8. Written by the National Museum of the American Indian, the teacher guide provides a thorough overview with insightful explanations of this important topic concerning the native American people. I have already done the research, pulling together all of the supporting lesson materials (including videos) and making them available below, so once all are downloaded, no internet connection is needed.
Here is an excerpt from the teacher guide introducing this lesson:
Each November students about the First Thanksgiving, a quintessentially American holiday. They try to give students an accurate educators across the country teach their picture of what happened in Plymouth in 1621 and explain how that event fits into American history. Unfortunately, many teaching materials give an incomplete, if not inaccurate, portrayal of the first Thanksgiving, particularly of the event’s Native American participants.
Most texts and supplementary materials portray Native Americans at the gathering as supporting players. They are depicted as nameless, faceless, generic “Indians” who merely shared a meal with the intrepid Pilgrims. The real story is much deeper, richer, and more nuanced.
All supporting material is as follows:
- A Navajo Student Feels the Tug of Home – transcript (pdf)
- A Navajo Student Feels the Tug of Home.mp3 video
- Apology to American Indians Moves Forward – transcript (pdf)
- Apology to American Indians Moves Forward.mp3 video
- Drought Threatens Navajo’s Crops, Culture – transcript (pdf)
- Drought Threatens Navajo’s Crops, Culture.mp3 video
- Harvest Ceremony, Beyond Thanksgiving, Study and Discussion Topics (pdf)
- Haudenosaunee Thanksgiving Address (pdf)
- Image Gallery for American Indian Perspectives on Thanksgiving (pdf)
- Tale Of Two Alaskan Villages – transcript (pdf)
- Tale Of Two Alaskan Villages.mp3 video
A good auxiliary resource is Plimoth Patuxet Museum’s bringing to life the history of Plymouth Colony and the Indigenous homeland. Their online activities, homework helps and “you are the historian game” are attractive and helpful content for learning about Thanksgiving and related topics.
– love learning -your best ed lessons guide, Scott