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Some California Teachers Ditching Traditional Thanksgiving Lessons
Fox News - AP ^ | 11-22-06

Posted on 11/22/2006 7:16:41 AM PST by Indy Pendance

LONG BEACH, Calif. — Teacher Bill Morgan walks into his third-grade class wearing a black Pilgrim hat made of construction paper and begins snatching up pencils, backpacks and glue sticks from his pupils. He tells them the items now belong to him because he "discovered" them.

The reaction is exactly what Morgan expects: The kids get angry and want their things back.

Morgan is among elementary school teachers who have ditched the traditional Thanksgiving lesson, in which children dress up like Indians and Pilgrims and act out a romanticized version of their first meetings.

He has replaced it with a more realistic look at the complex relationship between Indians and white settlers.

Morgan said he still wants his pupils at Cleveland Elementary School in San Francisco to celebrate Thanksgiving. But "what I am trying to portray is a different point of view."

Others see Morgan and teachers like him as too extreme.

"I think that is very sad," said Janice Shaw Crouse, a former college dean and public high school teacher and now a spokeswoman for Concerned Women for America, a conservative organization. "He is teaching his students to hate their country. That is a very distorted view of history, a distorted view of Thanksgiving."

Even American Indians are divided on how to approach a holiday that some believe symbolizes the start of a hostile takeover of their lands.

Chuck Narcho, a member of the Maricopa and Tohono O'odham tribes who works as a substitute teacher in Los Angeles, said younger children should not be burdened with all the gory details of American history.

"If you are going to teach, you need to keep it positive," he said. "They can learn about the truths when they grow up. Caring, sharing and giving — that is what was originally intended."

(Excerpt) Read more at foxnews.com ...


TOPICS: News/Current Events
KEYWORDS: ac; academicbias; pc; thanksgiving
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1 posted on 11/22/2006 7:16:42 AM PST by Indy Pendance
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To: Indy Pendance

Imagine what it must be like to wake up every morning and be Bill Morgan.


2 posted on 11/22/2006 7:18:37 AM PST by Caveman Lawyer ("If there is anybody here I have not insulted, I apologize." - Brahms, leaving a party in Vienna.)
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Comment #3 Removed by Moderator

To: Indy Pendance

Liberals always treat Indians like they are some kind of peace-loving, tree-worshipping, combine-dwelling hippies. Shoot, they took each other's land all the time and then skinned the owners alive. The whole east coast was just one massacre after another until Smallpox came along.


4 posted on 11/22/2006 7:21:10 AM PST by AppyPappy (If you aren't part of the solution, there is good money to be made prolonging the problem.)
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To: Caveman Lawyer

I'm sure he sees no problem with himself. I wouldn't want him teaching my children.


5 posted on 11/22/2006 7:22:14 AM PST by sageb1 (This is the Final Crusade. There are only 2 sides. Pick one.)
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To: Indy Pendance
Before Indians were running casinos and selling cigarettes tax-free in North America, they were a stone-age people before the "pale face" came. They had not learned to domesticate animals (except dogs or lamas), they had no written language, they used only stone tools and they had not even yet invented the wheel.

They had never seen a horse, a metal knife, a cart or a plow.

They also commonly practiced slavery, genocide and cannibalism against other tribes. No matter how many times you watch "Dances with Wolves" and "Pocahontas," it will not change these facts.

In terms of population percentage loss, the worst war we ever fought was King Philip's War in 1675-76. King Philip was an indian chief (also known as Metacomet) who attacked to oust white settlers from New England. The Indians burned down/destroyed twelve of ninety Puritan towns and attacked forty others (including Providence). The Colonists' population was small in 1675 and a good percentage of that population was killed in the war (with about 1000 slain out of a population of 52,000, this death rate was nearly twice that of the Civil War and more than seven times that of World War II). The Indians lost the war.

The vast majority of Indians sided with the French in the French And Indian War (1753). The indians lost the war.

The vast majority of Indians sided with the British in the Revolution. The Indians lost the war. (think about that one for a while)

The vast majority of Indians sided with the British again in the War of 1812. The Indians lost the war.

As the Americans moved west, fighting was constant on both sides. The Indians lost every time.

The judgment of history is merciless.
6 posted on 11/22/2006 7:23:24 AM PST by 2banana (My common ground with terrorists - they want to die for islam and we want to kill them)
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To: Indy Pendance

would like to be there when he discovers retribution


7 posted on 11/22/2006 7:23:55 AM PST by sure_fine (*not one to over kill the thought process*)
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To: AppyPappy

Yep, this is just more political correctness in the classroom.

Yep, we stole the land from the peace loving native peoples.

As a side note, I'm surprised we're allowed to still call it Thanksgiving, because that has a strong element of thanking God for what we have.

I've been expecting that the name Thanksgiving would be de-emphasized, just as the name Christmas has been de-emphasized, and rolled up into the "holiday season" where there are lots of holidays.


8 posted on 11/22/2006 7:24:47 AM PST by Dilbert San Diego
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To: 2banana

Good post.


9 posted on 11/22/2006 7:24:52 AM PST by Indy Pendance
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To: Indy Pendance
He has replaced it with a more realistic look at the complex relationship between Indians and white settlers.

The writer should have put "realistic" in quotes, otherwise it looks like the story agrees with the idiots point of view.

10 posted on 11/22/2006 7:26:18 AM PST by Always Right
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To: Caveman Lawyer

This lesson is appropriate for high school students, in my opinion, but not for younger students. I am not advocating returning the country to the Indians and I am happy that Anglo culture prevailed in North America. However, it is always good for us to be presented with both sides of any argument, and I believe it is appropriate for high school students to ponder the feelings of the Indians. After all, I believe that we are now experiencing the same invasion of our culture as the Indians did at that time.....different circumstances, but certainly the same feelings as we watch everything we love and value fade away.


11 posted on 11/22/2006 7:27:03 AM PST by Wage Slave (Good fences make good neighbors. -- Robert Frost)
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To: sure_fine

Is Bill Morgan of European ancestry? If so, then he needs to practice what he preaches, and set an example and leave this country so the native peoples can have it back. If he feels that strongly about this, he's hypocritical if he stays and enjoys all that this country has to offer. On the other hand, maybe he lives on an Indian reservation and enjoys Indian casinos.


12 posted on 11/22/2006 7:27:27 AM PST by Dilbert San Diego
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To: Indy Pendance

Of course, to be truly accurate, the students would all have to steal the items from each other before the teacher enters the room.


13 posted on 11/22/2006 7:29:12 AM PST by LouD
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To: Sheier Was Right

Where did they find this moron?

Probably fresh out of college with a degree in education.  

If you're too dumb to make it in journalism school, education is the way to go!

Owl_Eagle

If what I just wrote made you sad or angry,
it was probably just a joke.


14 posted on 11/22/2006 7:29:55 AM PST by South Hawthorne (In Memory of my Dear Friend Henry Lee II)
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To: Caveman Lawyer
Imagine what it must be like to wake up every morning and be Bill Morgan.

I can't visualize things that small and insignificant.
This guy is in Long Beach--I wonder if he's gone to Pala, Morongo, Barona, or San Manuel anytime, well, EVER??
15 posted on 11/22/2006 7:33:29 AM PST by OCCASparky (Steely-Eyed Killer of the Deep)
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To: Indy Pendance
Heap big buffalo scat.
16 posted on 11/22/2006 7:35:58 AM PST by Kirkwood
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To: Indy Pendance

I am watching a show on the History channel right now about the Cherokee...even the existing Cherokee say they were fighters....and they killed for fun...they were very violent....NOT the peace loving peoples the lefties have made them to be....


17 posted on 11/22/2006 7:38:32 AM PST by Youngman442002
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To: Indy Pendance

The Pilgrims got on well with the Indians, it was the later settlers that got snatchy.

This guy needs a brush up on history and stop with the self hatred and actually TEACH the truth.


18 posted on 11/22/2006 7:40:35 AM PST by Southerngl (When people fail to control themselves, they settle for controlling others.)
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To: OCCASparky

I don't get this. He says he wants to portray a more "realistic" version of history. But he's really making his own value judgements about what that history should be. He's taking the position that the English settlers were wrong to come to America and settle this land. He's taking the position that the Indians were just peace loving people, living in harmony with nature. He's injecting a certain point of view into the story of Thanksgiving and the overall settlement of America by Europeans. He's not being "realistic" as such. He's taking sides and presenting a viewpoint that he agrees with.



19 posted on 11/22/2006 7:40:48 AM PST by Dilbert San Diego
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To: Wage Slave

>>>After all, I believe that we are now experiencing the same invasion of our culture as the Indians did at that time.....different circumstances, but certainly the same feelings as we watch everything we love and value fade away.>>>

Yes, and an absolute feeling of helplessness about it.

Good point.


20 posted on 11/22/2006 7:41:47 AM PST by Southerngl (When people fail to control themselves, they settle for controlling others.)
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To: Indy Pendance
When the Pilgrims first got to America, they decided to live as Socialists (known as left wing in America today) "to make it fair for everyone." Those who "found" a reason not to work - didn't. The others were forced to feed the rest. People were dying in great numbers. There wasn't enough food. Eventually they said "enough" and turned to self accountability, and there was such an abundance, they no longer needed to steal to survive. On the countrary, they then had enough to freely GIVE.

THIS is the part of the story the left wing Socialists leave out. They failed in the beginning due to "left wing policies", and that's where all the horror stories come from. The joyous feast held later came from getting rid of Socialism, which is why they're trying to bury that part of the story today.

Thank God we home school. Our kids get the whole story.

21 posted on 11/22/2006 7:44:27 AM PST by concerned about politics ("Get thee behind me, Liberal.")
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To: 2banana

my understanding is that the indians really don't run the casinos, they have outsiders come in and do the actual casino stuff as "partners".

Like the Hard Rock corportation, Ballys Casino and the like...

Its a facy tax dodge for the corporate casinos.


22 posted on 11/22/2006 7:45:34 AM PST by longtermmemmory (VOTE! http://www.senate.gov and http://www.house.gov)
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To: Indy Pendance

That's not teaching, that's aversion therapy. See this pilgrim hat? BAD!! BAD!!!


23 posted on 11/22/2006 7:46:01 AM PST by A_perfect_lady
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To: concerned about politics
Funny how 'collectivism' is left out of it.
24 posted on 11/22/2006 7:46:07 AM PST by Indy Pendance
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To: 2banana

The Maya had written language. I can't disagree with anything else you said, though.


25 posted on 11/22/2006 7:49:54 AM PST by A_perfect_lady
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To: sageb1
I'm sure he sees no problem with himself. I wouldn't want him teaching my children.

No wonder the people in California are so messed up. One look at their schools tells the whole story. Only a few ever make it to adulthood successfully (those are the Ca. FReepers).

26 posted on 11/22/2006 7:50:25 AM PST by concerned about politics ("Get thee behind me, Liberal.")
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To: AppyPappy
Shoot, they took each other's land all the time and then skinned the owners alive.

Don't confuse us with the facts.

27 posted on 11/22/2006 7:51:42 AM PST by Aquinasfan (When you find "Sola Scriptura" in the Bible, let me know)
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To: Always Right
The writer should have put "realistic" in quotes, otherwise it looks like the story agrees with the idiots point of view.

I think AP agrees with the idiot.

28 posted on 11/22/2006 7:53:31 AM PST by Aquinasfan (When you find "Sola Scriptura" in the Bible, let me know)
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To: Indy Pendance

I hope he's found with a flint arrow in him.


29 posted on 11/22/2006 7:54:13 AM PST by Gorzaloon ("Illegal Immigrant": The Larval form of A Democrat.)
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To: Indy Pendance
The reaction is exactly what Morgan expects: The kids get angry and want their things back.

Wouldn't the liberals refer to that as "inhumane torture?" Where are the long haired, maggot infested left wing protesters?

30 posted on 11/22/2006 7:54:18 AM PST by concerned about politics ("Get thee behind me, Liberal.")
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To: concerned about politics
"Thank God we home school. Our kids get the whole story"

Dittoes......here's Rush's story:


On August 1, 1620, the Mayflower set sail. It carried a total of 102 passengers, including forty Pilgrims led by William Bradford. On the journey, Bradford set up an agreement, a contract, that established just and equal laws for all members of the new community, irrespective of their religious beliefs. Where did the revolutionary ideas expressed in the Mayflower Compact come from? From the Bible. The Pilgrims were a people completely steeped in the lessons of the Old and New Testaments. They looked to the ancient Israelites for their example. And, because of the biblical precedents set forth in Scripture, they never doubted that their experiment would work.

"But this was no pleasure cruise, friends. The journey to the New World was a long and arduous one. And when the Pilgrims landed in New England in November, they found, according to Bradford's detailed journal, a cold, barren, desolate wilderness," destined to become the home of the Kennedy family. "There were no friends to greet them, he wrote. There were no houses to shelter them. There were no inns where they could refresh themselves. And the sacrifice they had made for freedom was just beginning. During the first winter, half the Pilgrims – including Bradford's own wife – died of either starvation, sickness or exposure.

"When spring finally came, Indians taught the settlers how to plant corn, fish for cod and skin beavers for coats." Yes, it was Indians that taught the white man how to skin beasts. "Life improved for the Pilgrims, but they did not yet prosper! This is important to understand because this is where modern American history lessons often end. "Thanksgiving is actually explained in some textbooks as a holiday for which the Pilgrims gave thanks to the Indians for saving their lives, rather than as a devout expression of gratitude grounded in the tradition of both the Old and New Testaments. Here is the part [of Thanksgiving] that has been omitted: The original contract the Pilgrims had entered into with their merchant-sponsors in London called for everything they produced to go into a common store, and each member of the community was entitled to one common share.

"All of the land they cleared and the houses they built belong to the community as well. They were going to distribute it equally. All of the land they cleared and the houses they built belonged to the community as well. Nobody owned anything. They just had a share in it. It was a commune, folks. It was the forerunner to the communes we saw in the '60s and '70s out in California – and it was complete with organic vegetables, by the way. Bradford, who had become the new governor of the colony, recognized that this form of collectivism was as costly and destructive to the Pilgrims as that first harsh winter, which had taken so many lives. He decided to take bold action. Bradford assigned a plot of land to each family to work and manage, thus turning loose the power of the marketplace.

"That's right. Long before Karl Marx was even born, the Pilgrims had discovered and experimented with what could only be described as socialism. And what happened? It didn't work! Surprise, surprise, huh? What Bradford and his community found was that the most creative and industrious people had no incentive to work any harder than anyone else, unless they could utilize the power of personal motivation! But while most of the rest of the world has been experimenting with socialism for well over a hundred years – trying to refine it, perfect it, and re-invent it – the Pilgrims decided early on to scrap it permanently. What Bradford wrote about this social experiment should be in every schoolchild's history lesson. If it were, we might prevent much needless suffering in the future.


"'The experience that we had in this common course and condition, tried sundry years...that by taking away property, and bringing community into a common wealth, would make them happy and flourishing – as if they were wiser than God,' Bradford wrote. 'For this community [so far as it was] was found to breed much confusion and discontent, and retard much employment that would have been to their benefit and comfort. For young men that were most able and fit for labor and service did repine that they should spend their time and strength to work for other men's wives and children without any recompense...that was thought injustice.' Why should you work for other people when you can't work for yourself? What's the point?

"Do you hear what he was saying, ladies and gentlemen? The Pilgrims found that people could not be expected to do their best work without incentive. So what did Bradford's community try next? They unharnessed the power of good old free enterprise by invoking the undergirding capitalistic principle of private property. Every family was assigned its own plot of land to work and permitted to market its own crops and products. And what was the result? 'This had very good success,' wrote Bradford, 'for it made all hands industrious, so as much more corn was planted than otherwise would have been.' Bradford doesn't sound like much of a..." I wrote "Clintonite" then. He doesn't sound much like a liberal Democrat, "does he? Is it possible that supply-side economics could have existed before the 1980s? Yes.

"Read the story of Joseph and Pharaoh in Genesis 41. Following Joseph's suggestion (Gen 41:34), Pharaoh reduced the tax on Egyptians to 20% during the 'seven years of plenty' and the 'Earth brought forth in heaps.' (Gen. 41:47) In no time, the Pilgrims found they had more food than they could eat themselves.... So they set up trading posts and exchanged goods with the Indians. The profits allowed them to pay off their debts to the merchants in London. And the success and prosperity of the Plymouth settlement attracted more Europeans and began what came to be known as the 'Great Puritan Migration.'" Now, other than on this program every year, have you heard this story before? Is this lesson being taught to your kids today -- and if it isn't, why not?

Can you think of a more important lesson one could derive from the pilgrim experience? So in essence there was, thanks to the Indians, because they taught us how to skin beavers and how to plant corn when we arrived, but the real Thanksgiving was thanking the Lord for guidance and plenty -- and once they reformed their system and got rid of the communal bottle and started what was essentially free market capitalism, they produced more than they could possibly consume, and they invited the Indians to dinner, and voila, we got Thanksgiving, and that's what it was: inviting the Indians to dinner and giving thanks for all the plenty is the true story of Thanksgiving. The last two-thirds of this story simply are not told.
31 posted on 11/22/2006 7:55:37 AM PST by Jeffrey_D. (Seek first to understand, then to be understood)
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To: Indy Pendance

Screwing up Columbus Day didn't satisfy some appetites, it appears.


32 posted on 11/22/2006 7:55:46 AM PST by ErnBatavia (recent nightmare: Googled up "Helen Thomas nude"....)
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To: Indy Pendance

Wonder if this idiot teacher also tells his class that the red states are more charitable and compassionate than the blue states....


33 posted on 11/22/2006 7:57:26 AM PST by auto power
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To: Wage Slave
After all, I believe that we are now experiencing the same invasion of our culture as the Indians did at that time.....different circumstances, but certainly the same feelings as we watch everything we love and value fade away.

Well put. We're told that it was so evil and wrong for the white man to come to the Indians' land and settle and replace the Indians' customs and ways. Yet, when tens of millions of illegal aliens sneak across our borders now, we are told that we should welcome the "reconquista" and that we are being "enriched."

34 posted on 11/22/2006 7:57:42 AM PST by Nea Wood (Is cheap, illegal labor worth one life?)
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To: ErnBatavia

Or Christmas, or Halloween, or the 4th of July.... Seems the only holiday that's 'protected' is MLK Day.


35 posted on 11/22/2006 7:58:26 AM PST by Indy Pendance
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To: Indy Pendance
snatching up pencils, backpacks and glue sticks from his pupils. He tells them the items now belong to him because he "discovered" them.

Colonists paid for Manhattan in a perfectly acceptable transaction.

36 posted on 11/22/2006 7:58:36 AM PST by Alouette (Psalms of the Day: 1-9)
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To: Indy Pendance

Morgan is among elementary school teachers who have ditched the traditional Thanksgiving lesson, in which children dress up like Indians and Pilgrims and act out a romanticized version of their first meetings.

We did not do this at our school. I do believe we went to church on Wednesday morning. (Catholic School). I just think that people put to much into these activities. That teacher taking pencils to teach what the indians felt is really bizzar. I don't even know how he could have thought of that. Oh by the way, during our Christmas Children's mass (Santa made a visit). I bet that would make liberals shiver and worry...lol.


37 posted on 11/22/2006 7:59:33 AM PST by napscoordinator
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To: Jeffrey_D.
Dittoes......here's Rush's story:

I gather my kids around to hear it every year. It's become a tradition.

38 posted on 11/22/2006 8:00:38 AM PST by concerned about politics ("Get thee behind me, Liberal.")
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To: Indy Pendance

The guy's not much of a history teacher:

"THE GATHERING STORM CLOUDS OF DISTRUST

The peace born of mutual support and trust eventually eroded. Another plague-the small pox epidemic of 1633-34-swept away thousands of Algonquins and made more land available. Only between fifteen to eighteen thousand Native People still survived in all of New England. Meanwhile, the expanding colonial towns were bulging with the new arrivals, eager to start claiming and clearing their own piece of America.

LAND DISPUTES

Land transfer was not a simple matter. The colonial laws guarded the rights of the natives. Only through qualified agents could purchases be made. Interpreters must be present, as well as several witnesses for both parties. The Indian owner or his family must be present for the formal signing, for unlike communal tribal lands of the western Indians, much of the land was owned by individual tribesmen. Finally, the sachem must also add his mark if he were in agreement. If all this puzzled the land-rich warrior, he may have been aware of his rights under English law. And when all was said and done, he generally retained his right to hunt and fish on the property. To the twentieth century mind, trade goods seems a small price to pay for a slice of real estate. But values must be interpreted as to time and place, and the Algonquin was certain he had the best of the bargain. In 1675, a full-scale war erupted between the increasing number of colonists and the Indians. Now known as King Phillip's War, after the name of the Massasoit's son, who was then chief, the clash lasted eleven years and caused great destruction on both sides.

The Wampanoag were defeated, and peaceful relations between the two groups were forever shattered.

The peaceful relations between the Pilgrims and Indians had lasted 54 years, during the lifetimes of the Massasoit and the original members of Plymouth Colony."

http://www.rootsweb.com/~mosmd/


39 posted on 11/22/2006 8:03:36 AM PST by SoCal Pubbie
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To: concerned about politics

My homeschooled kids get "the whole story", too. We recently spent a lot of time studying Indians, and it was a challenge to present both sides of the story. Two facts were most important. First, the formation of the United States was absolutely part of God's plan. Second, God's will was never that white people should treat Indians cruelly or unjustly -- and vice versa. We talked about the greed of many white settlers and how wrong that was. Even though my dd is only 7, I think she ended up with a well-rounded education on this subject. As she gets older, we'll revisit it often, I'm sure.


40 posted on 11/22/2006 8:08:31 AM PST by ChocChipCookie (Homeschool like your kids' lives depend on it.)
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To: AppyPappy
I'll do ya one better:

The whole North American Continent was awash in blood from their near-constant inter-indian warfare until they were finally civilized by the musket and the bible, both wielded by the white man.

41 posted on 11/22/2006 8:08:49 AM PST by -=SoylentSquirrel=- (Heston is STILL my President.)
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To: Indy Pendance

"Chuck Narcho, a member of the Maricopa and Tohono O'odham tribes who works as a substitute teacher in Los Angeles, said younger children should not be burdened with all the gory details of American history.

"If you are going to teach, you need to keep it positive," he said. "They can learn about the truths when they grow up. Caring, sharing and giving — that is what was originally intended."


VERY WELL SAID.


42 posted on 11/22/2006 8:09:40 AM PST by ZULU (Non nobis, non nobis, Domine, sed nomini tuo da gloriam. God, guts, and guns made America great.)
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Comment #43 Removed by Moderator

To: ZULU

I have been seeing stories like this every Thanksgiving for 20+ years. It has become a ritual. I'm a little disappointed, though, that I haven't seen the annual stories about our cruelty toward turkeys brought to us by our friends at PETA. Oh well, there's still time I guess...


44 posted on 11/22/2006 8:15:05 AM PST by Russ
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To: Indy Pendance
This teacher is lying. What he's teaching is historical revisionism. Here's the truth (from http://www.boundless.org/2005/articles/a0001397.cfm ):

 

What Are We Celebrating?
by Anne Morse

Before you loosen your belt and find a comfortable place on the couch to nap this Thursday, ask yourself:

What are we celebrating?
a) A feast day honoring the ancient god, pigus dermus.
b) The festival of the ancient god, pigus outus.
c) A feast commemorating the bravery of the Pilgrims who set sail for an unknown world 3,000 miles from home.

On Thanksgiving, who's the one getting thanked?
1) The Indians
2) Mother Earth
3) the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.

Why did the Pilgrims leave England for America?
a) They were seeking religious freedom
b) They were searching for a better environment for their out-of-control kids
c) It's a trick question. The Pilgrims actually came to America from Holland.

OK, how'd you do? If you're like a lot of Americans, you don't know as much about Thanksgiving's origins as you thought.

It's really not your fault. The holiday has fallen into politically-correct disrepute. Walk into a Border's Books, you'll find plenty of books about Thanksgiving. But most of them offer a deeply distorted view of the holiday. For instance, readers will get the distinct impression that the Pilgrims were atheists, because all mention of God has been omitted from many a modern holiday tale.

Pilgrim motives are under assault, as well. Some books, and even the exhibit in Plymouth, Mass. suggest that the Pilgrims came to America hoping to become Elizabethan versions of Bill Gates and Warren Buffet: They claim that the Pilgrims came to America for economic opportunity.

If money had been important to these families, they would never have left England in the first place. Most suffered serious financial reversals when they fled their homeland — reversals that dogged them the rest of their lives.

Still other books suggest the Pilgrims held their feast in order to thank the Indians. Wrong! Assuredly, certain Indians — Squanto, especially — were key to the Pilgrims' survival. But despite illness, homesickness, the death of half their members the previous winter and the ongoing difficulty of scratching out a living in an unknown land, the Pilgrims thanked God for blessing them.

Actually, the fact that they spent three days thanking God instead of cursing Him tells you much about what their motives. Their story began some 14 years prior to the Mayflower voyage. In England, in the early 17th century, you were a member of the Church of England — or you were in trouble. In 1606, those who objected to aspects of church doctrine formed their own secret congregations and were known as Separatists. These worshippers were persecuted by government authorities, prompting the Separatists to flee England for Holland in 1608.

While they now enjoyed religious freedom, they also suffered desperate poverty. Most had been farmers in England; now they sought work as wool combers, tailors, pipe makers and carpenters. They were growing old before their time and becoming discouraged.

But the Separatists had an even greater concern than putting food on the table. Their kids were assimilating a little too well into Dutch culture — an aspect of the Pilgrim story we hear little about today.

Pick up a copy of William Bradford's diary and you'll find him anguishing over the way the congregation's teenagers were imitating the bad behavior of Dutch teens. Of all the sorrows to be born, Bradford writes, the heaviest was that many of their children, observing

the great licentiousness of youth in that countrie and the manifold temptations of the place, were drawne away by evill examples into extravagante and dangerous courses, getting the raines off their neks, and departing from their parents.

Some of them tended to "dissolutnes and the danger of their soules, to the great greefe of their parents and dishonor of God," Bradford notes.

Bradford puts an end to the notion that the Pilgrims traveled to the New World to get rich quick. He writes that while the Separatists hoped day to day living would be a bit easier in America, their chief motivations were the spiritual welfare of their children and "a great hope and inward zeall [for] laying some good foundation ... for the propagating and advancing the gospell of the kingdom of Christ" in "the vast and unpeopled countries of America."

Although the plan to leave Holland "caused many fears and doubts amongst them selves," and some, "out of their fears ... sought to diverte from it," the little band ultimately decided that "the dangers were great, but not desperate; the difficulties were many, but not invincible," and that "through the help of God, by fortitude and patience," these difficulties "might either be borne or overcome," Bradford records.

Thus, a dozen years after leaving England, the Separatists prepared to travel to the New World. As soon as they were able, they sailed back to England and picked up additional passengers — fellow saints as well as a number of strangers whose willingness to go along helped pay the costs of the journey. They then set sail on the Mayflower to "those remote parts of the world," as Bradford put it.

Landing on Cape Cod instead of Virginia, as they'd expected, the Pilgrims endured a harsh New England winter that took the lives of half their number. In the spring they recovered from their illnesses; built homes; and planted English barley, peas and wheat, plus 20 acres of Indian corn, aided by Squanto. In April, the Mayflower's Captain Christopher Jones set sail for England. Despite the terrible winter and anticipated future hardships, not a single Pilgrim went back with him.

That fall — in October — the Pilgrims gathered in their harvest and spent three days feasting. While contemporary authors claim this was nothing more than a day of celebration, William Bradford writes that it was a day of thanksgiving to God: "The Lord sent [us] such seasonable showers that through his blessing [there was] a fruitful and liberal harvest.... For which mercy ... they set apart a day of thanksgiving."

That day turned into three, marking both America's first three-day weekend and the first church potluck. The Pilgrims invited Massasoit, chief of the Wampanoag Indians, who arrived with 90 braves and five freshly-slaughtered deer; the Pilgrims provided everything else. The first Thanksgiving menu is described in The Pilgrim Way, by Robert M. Bartlett:

The Pilgrims furnished geese, ducks and turkey brought down by their matchlocks. They spread rough tables with a tempting array of these meats, along with lobster, clams, fish, eels, beans, pumpkin, salads of leeks and water cress, corn cakes, Indian pudding sweetened with wild honey, grapes, plums and red and white wine made from wild grapes."

Evidently the idea of stuffing ourselves, as well as the turkey, originated with the Pilgrims. We can also credit (or blame) them for blending Thanksgiving feasting with football. On that first Thanksgiving weekend nearly 400 years ago, the women cooked while the men took part in various sports and contests of skill. (At least the Pilgrims burned off their culinary excesses instead of simply plopping down in front of the TV, their eyes as glazed as the Thanksgiving yams.)

Given that the Pilgrims embodied so much of what Americans value, it's a pity we remember them primarily for inviting their friends over for a big meal and sports. We ought to remember them, as well, for having the courage to face down dangers and hardships, their defiance of a government that attempted to dictate how they should worship, and their insistence on putting radical obedience to God — and their commitment to their kids' spiritual welfare — above a comfortable lifestyle. Even Christians are beginning to forget what the Pilgrims were all about. On Thanksgiving, we tend to content ourselves with a prayer of thanks to God for our blessings — a brief prayer, so the gravy won't get cold.

But the story of the Pilgrims is a heritage we need to protect. If we don't, we may soon see Thanksgiving treated as Columbus Day is in some cities: a day to be marked with contempt. Already the cultural corrupters are portraying the Pilgrims as the original religious zealots who stole land (and great holiday recipes) from the Indians; people who intended to force their morality down other people's throats.

For example, a few Thanksgivings ago on the Mall in Washington D.C., Native American Indian Nathan Philips and his family camped out in a teepee. They went, he informed the Washington Post, as part of a nationwide commemoration of Thanksgiving as a "day of mourning" to "remind people that a lot of American Indians don't have too much to be thankful for."

What many don't know is that the Pilgrims signed and kept a 55-year peace treaty with Massasoit, the Wampanoag Indian chief who welcomed the Pilgrims as friends.

Protecting the historical Thanksgiving means knowing the truth about the Pilgrims. You can find it in diaries written by Pilgrim fathers William Bradford and Edward Winslow, and books by historians like Robert M. Bartlett, author of The Pilgrim Way.

Ultimately, the Pilgrims are a reminder that following Christ means being willing to give up everything for Him: Mother and father, home and jobs, comfort and amusements, the familiarity of our own country and a predictable future of prosperity. The Pilgrims were willing. Are we?

45 posted on 11/22/2006 8:15:30 AM PST by Theo (Global warming "scientists." Pro-evolution "scientists." They're both wrong.)
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To: Nea Wood

What we are experiencing is the story of mankind: migration, invasion, domination, conquest, etc. The stronger group of people always wins, whether by force, resistance to disease, birth rate, or whatever. This story has been repeated thousands of times through the centuries. There is a strange twist on our story, though, because we are actively participating in our own demise through our low birth rate and our lack of the will to fight the invasion.


46 posted on 11/22/2006 8:15:42 AM PST by Wage Slave (Good fences make good neighbors. -- Robert Frost)
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To: Indy Pendance
The reaction is exactly what Morgan expects: The kids get angry and want their things back.

*rolls eyes*

Way to ruin a perfectly wonderful holiday for these kids. sheesh!

47 posted on 11/22/2006 8:17:34 AM PST by proud American in Canada (Thy Will Be Done.)
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To: Russ

If I wasa President, I'd dress up like a Pilgrim, pick up a matchlock musket, go hunting and bag a wild turkey - and do it all on camera to make a clear political statement to the PETA people and political revisionists.

Also, I would NOT be pardoning any turkeys. I WOULD be pardoning Americans who were sentenced by corrupt judges for fighting to defend our borders against illegal invaders.


48 posted on 11/22/2006 8:19:27 AM PST by ZULU (Non nobis, non nobis, Domine, sed nomini tuo da gloriam. God, guts, and guns made America great.)
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To: Dilbert San Diego
I'm surprised we're allowed to still call it Thanksgiving, because that has a strong element of thanking God for what we have.

LOL... let's not give them any ideas. ;)

49 posted on 11/22/2006 8:29:47 AM PST by proud American in Canada (Thy Will Be Done.)
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To: proud American in Canada

My ancestry is part American indian. However, never for even a moment have I wished that I were living in a teepee on the plains in a blizzard because Europeans never came.


50 posted on 11/22/2006 8:36:08 AM PST by ClaireSolt (Have you have gotten mixed up in a mish-masher?)
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