There’s a handful of parents/college professors in California who stopped a 40 year tradition this Thanksgiving. Basically, a kindergarten class at one local school would dress up as native americans while a kindergarten class in another local school would dress up as pilgrims. The native american class would walk over to the pilgrim class and have lunch. The kids would make cute, construction paper costumes, learn about giving, being thankful and two people coming together in spite of vast differences.
It seems these professors thought it was offensive because of the history that followed. They go on to compare it to dressing the kids up like “slaves (and kind slave masters), or Jews (and friendly Nazis)”. Who are these people? They’ve lost sight of the forest for the trees… of the message for the messenger.
What’s important is that one act of kindness, of these people coming together. It’s fun for the kids, does not portray native americans in any negative stereotype or ridicule any minority. The native americans weren’t slaves. They weren’t forced to help the pilgrims. They did it out of kindness. Celebrate that. Obviously, don’t ignore what happened in the two centuries following, but let these kids start out with ideals before we make them cynics who hate our history.
What holiday isn’t wrapped in idealism? When you look at the cold, hard facts, there’s a villian somewhere and a subjugated minority: Hanukkah marks the defeat of Seleucid Empire forces that had tried to prevent the people of Israel from practicing Judaism, Easter is the rebirth of Christ after his crucifixion by the Romans.
Let our children celebrate the ideals. They’ll learn history soon enough.