The Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) is under fire for a lesson plan that challenges students to consider that what they know about Thanksgiving is “wrong.”
One of the LAUSD advisory lessons released in June and available to educators was titled “Let’s Talk About Thanksgiving.” The presentations were created by their Office of Human Relations, Diversity and Equity.
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“Everything we know about Thanksgiving is WRONG?” asks the PowerPoint presentation.
“The version we learn in school begins with the landing of the Mayflower in 1620 in a small bay north of Cape Cod,” says the next slide, before offering a contrast. “In the Native American version [of Thanksgiving]The arrival of the Pilgrims marks the beginning of the end”.
“Indigenous peoples had a hundred years of contact and trade with Europeans before the pilgrims arrived in 1621,” the next slide read, with the word “MYTH” highlighted in bold. He went on to say that “years before, crews of British slaves introduced smallpox to the natives; more than 90% of the local population died.”
Another “myth” the presentation seemed to want to dispel was that “Thanksgiving is a celebration of unity between indigenous peoples and European settlers.”
Typical Thanksgiving lessons have suggested that pilgrims, fresh from the lily of the valleycelebrated the harvest with the Native Americans.
“Researchers doubt that there is a celebration or unity between the Indigenous Peoples and the European settlers,” the LAUSD plan said. “European settlers continually drove indigenous peoples off their land and forced them to conform to European customs.”
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The presentation also encourages teachers to show students a Teen Vogue video titled “Native American Girls Describe the TRUE Story Behind Thanksgiving.” The young women in the video say that European settlers “celebrated” the uprooting and killing of several villages and that today’s holiday is tantamount to celebrating the “death of many people.”
The school district’s presentation concludes by recommending students find out “whose land” they live on and link to resources where they can learn more.
Erika Sanzi, Director of Outreach for Parents Defending Education, was among those who criticized the lesson plan.
“There’s no one right way to teach about Thanksgiving, but this is one example of the pendulum swinging toward an ideology that seeks to redefine and overthrow a centuries-old tradition of unity through gratitude,” Sanzi told Fox. NewsDigital.
Fox News Digital has reached out to LAUSD for comment.
Various media pundits have claimed in recent years that Thanksgiving is about “genocide” and “imperialism.” Before Thanksgiving last year, for example, Native American activist Gyasi Ross appeared on MSNBC to criticize the holiday.
“Instead of bringing fillings and cookies, those settlers brought genocide and violence,” he said.
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“I know a lot of people who call it ‘Colonizer Christmas’ because they don’t really like the idea of what Thanksgiving represents.” MSNBC Regular Jason Johnson similarly said in November 2020.
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Many schools have also advocated a “rethinking” of the way students learn about the origins of Thanksgiving. “What kids are learning about Thanksgiving is changing,” TIME wrote in 2019. The article noted that many teachers have begun to explore how they can adapt their assignments to be more “culturally sensitive.”