America's origin story is deeply tied to Thanksgiving and the Pilgrims. Unfortunately much of what we have been taught in school is not true. Below are our favorite resources to relearn Thanksgiving
From rejecting Thanksgiving to holding multiple narratives at the same time to embracing myths this wide ranging panel on Thanksgiving is worth the hour as each person on the panel has a different perspective on Thanksgiving day.
Did you know that the Pilgrims had a fondness for colorful clothing and not the stereotypical plain, black wardrobe that is normally depicted? Did you know that religious freedom was not the primary motivation for the Pilgrims to cross the Atlantic? Our favorite Thanksgiving historian Robert Tracy McKenzie debunks five myths that are commonly associated with the Pilgrims.
While The Pilgrims won't win any awards for being the most exciting documentary (this was directed by Ric Burns, the younger brother of Ken Burns), it excels at showing the context that caused the Pilgrims to make the radical decision to cross the Atlantic Ocean with little chance of surviving. In two hours, the film traces the Pilgrims' reasons for leaving England and then Holland, the excruciating passage on the Mayflower, surviving in New England (and the context they arrived in), and how the Pilgrims established a foothold in the New World that changed the balance of power forever.
Heroes. Brothers and sisters in Christ. Freedom fighters. Most Americans hold the Pilgrims in high regard, but unfortunately, many of these beliefs would be rejected by Pilgrims today- not the least a scheduled day of Thanksgiving. But, why does it matter?
Aquinnah Wampanoag tribe of Gay Head Moonanum James, former organizer of the annual National Day of Mourning and who died of cancer in 2020, explains why some Indigenous people do not celebrate Thanksgiving.
A short five minute, visually engaging video with National Museum of the American Indian curator Paul Chaat Smith discussing what Thanksgiving strives to be while briefly touching on the meal that took place in 1621. This video was part of the Americans exhibit at the National Museum of the American Indian.
Although the Pilgrims have been centered and elevated in the myth of Thanksgiving that does not mean we should eliminate their narrative nor does it mean we cannot learn from them. History professor Robert Tracy McKenzie dispels some of the common myths associated with the Pilgrims, discusses why it is important to learn the truth about the past, and suggests how we can incorporate Thanksgiving into our everyday lives. The interview occurs in the first half of the podcast and ends at the 17:40 mark.
In an engaging six minutes, Uncivil History gives the context surrounding the Pilgrims arrival on the shores of Turtle Island, while dispelling some of the common myths associated with Thanksgiving.
Americans have been fascinated with Native Americans since arriving in the 1600's. Native American culture, symbols, and names surround us, from mascots to the names of streets and mountains to the packaging of food. In an enlightening interview, the National Museum of the American Indian curator Paul Chaat Smith discusses the need to look at history with nuance, and in the case of Thanksgiving, avoid the oversimplification of both sides of the story.
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