Published On: Wed, Nov 14th, 2018

Massachusetts’ Merrimack College library promoting ‘National Day of Mourning’ for Thanksgiving, combat racism

The McQuade Library at Merrimack College in Massachusetts referred to Thanksgiving as a “#NationalDayOfMourning” on Sunday as it promote an article entitled “Decolonizing Thanksgiving: A Toolkit for Combatting Racism in Schools.”


The toolkit, created by St. Mary’s University professor Lindsey Passenger Wieck, urges an approach that “decoloniz[es]” and “de-romanticize[s]” Thanksgiving.

“Here are some wonderful resources for teaching children about Thanksgiving!” Merrimack said, posting Wieck’s article. “This is great for educators and parents. #Thankgiving#DecolonizingThanksgiving#AntiRacism#ChildrensEducation#NationalDayofMourning”

“Stereotypical and racist portrayals of Native peoples fill U.S. elementary schools each November as students encounter historically-inaccurate portrayals of Native peoples in arts & crafts, books, and lessons about a shared Thanksgiving meal, and songs and plays with hand-crafted headdresses and vests,” Wieck argues in the article linked by the Facebook post. “But these activities are problematic, because they depict Native peoples in an ahistorical way and perpetuate myths about colonial encounters.”

The post provides readers with nearly 30 links to letter templates that they can send to their children’s schools about inappropriate Thanksgiving activities, as well as the names of books teachers can use to “decolonize” the holiday.

Among the activities condemned:

  • “Native American tee-pee art” activities
  • choosing of an “Indian name”
  • creation of “Indian-style crafts”

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The toolkit includes a link to a 2016 blog post titled, “Ten Ways to Make Your Thanksgiving about Social and Environmental Justice” by Franklin & Marshall College Assistant Professor of Environmental Studies, Eve Bratman.

“I want to make this Thanksgiving more deeply anti-racist, ecologically rooted, and anti-imperialist,” the professor asserts in the post. “Repeating the holiday with no acknowledgment of the intolerance in its history feels delusional at best, if not actively perpetuating oppression.”

Wieck’s post also includes an article titled “Teaching Intolerance, Teaching Thanksgiving in a Socially Responsible Way” by Amanda Morris, who teaches Native American/Indigenous Rhetorics at Kutztown University of Pennsylvania. Morris’ resources “help educators [disrupt] the hegemonic Thanksgiving story,” as well as an explanation of how these depictions of Native Americans are harmful.

Campus Reform has more HERE

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- Roxanne "Butter" Bracco began with the Dispatch as Pittsburgh Correspondent, but will be providing reports and insights from Washington DC, Maryland and the surrounding region. Contact Roxie aka "Butter" at theglobaldispatch@gmail ATTN: Roxie or Butter Bracco

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