Nanticoke Tribe shares history behind Thanksgiving to elementary school students

National News

MARYLAND (KFDX/KJTL) — An elementary school in Maryland wanted their students to know the true history of thanksgiving, past the stories of turkeys and pilgrims, so they invited members of a Native American tribe to speak.

They say it’s important to remember all that Native Americans gave that day and everything they lost afterward.

Former Nanticoke Tribal Council Member, Bonnie Hall said, “we’re still trying to educate not only ourselves but the public in regards to what celebrating Thanksgiving should really be about.”

People across the country celebrate Thanksgiving every year

Hall said, “Thanksgiving is a day of celebration of your blessings. It’s an opportunity to share in fellowship, fun, and food with your family and your friends.”

And educators spend classroom time focusing on age-appropriate lessons about the holiday.

Beaver Run First grade teacher, Lyndsey McGee/1st grade teacher, said, “we kind of just celebrated being around the table, being thankful for things — our friends and things that we love.”

But members of the Nanticoke Indian Tribe in Delaware say there are larger discussions to be had.

Hall said, “I also think it’s an opportunity for us to think about the myths and misconceptions around the first Thanksgiving.”

Nanticoke tribe members say the history behind the holiday isn’t always taught.

Hall said, “I think the Native Americans were very giving of themselves and lost the lot by sharing and bearing gifts and celebrating the first Thanksgiving with the pilgrims.”

That’s why groups like the Nanticoke Indian Association continue to share the tribe’s history.

Hall said, “we’ve taken it on as a part of our mission and our charge to try to supplement that deficit.”

Nanticoke Tribe Chief, Natosha Carmine said, “We always hope that there’s an open forum that we are able to educate them as to our culture, our traditions and keeping it positive.”

They are hoping it can be the start of a larger conversation.

Hall said, “and it should be a teachable moment in regards to what that celebration really entailed.”

Members of the tribe often visit schools to teach students about their history.

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