NEW YORK, NY – Thanksgiving’s roots in a story of pilgrims and indigenous people looking beyond their differences to break bread together are controversial, particularly with how the relationship between Native Americans and European settlers has degenerated into war and genocide.
But the holidays are still a time to take a break and remember those who lived here long before you and there is now an interactive map where you can plug in an address and see exactly who it was.
According to Native-Land.ca, the Lenape, Rockaway and Canarsie Indians once occupied what is now New York City.
The creators noted that the map is a work in progress and does not represent the official or legal boundaries of any indigenous nation. The federal government officially recognizes nearly 600 Native American tribes in the continental United States and Alaska, and researchers estimate that between 900,000 and 18 million people lived north of the Rio Grande before Columbus landed in America. of the North, according to the Encyclopaedia Britannica.
Finding definitive or exact limits is therefore quite a difficult task. What is much less murky is what happened to these aboriginal peoples.
Although the death toll varies widely, some experts have suggested that the total size of the Native American population has fallen by more than 90% due to war, slavery, societal disruption and – in particular – epidemic disease. generalized, including smallpox and measles.
If you plan to recognize any or all of these indigenous people, heed the advice of an educator in North Carolina on what not to do.
“Teachers! Repeat after me: I will not have my students to make “Indian” feathers / clothes“tweeted Lauryn Mascareñaz, director of the Wake County School System’s Equity Affairs Office.” I won’t culturally appropriate an entire people for ‘cute’ activities. I will tell my students the truth about this country’s relationship with indigenous peoples. #PinterestIsNotPedagogy “
His tweet received around 4,000 likes on Tuesday afternoon and was retweeted around 1,200 times.
Indeed, stereotypes and racist representations of Indigenous peoples “fill American elementary schools every November,” according to Lindsey Passenger Wieck, director of the graduate program in public history at St. Mary’s University in San Antonio. In an article on Medium, she writes that students routinely encounter historically false representations in arts and crafts, books and lessons, as well as songs and plays with “handcrafted headdresses and vests. “.
She called these activities problematic because they show Aboriginal people in an anhistoric way and perpetuate myths about how they met the colonists.
“These depictions of Indigenous people are harmful because they compress all Indigenous people into one ‘Native American on Thanksgiving’ image,” Wiek wrote. “These depictions overlook the immense diversity of the Indigenous peoples of North America, while transforming contemporary Indigenous peoples and identities into costumes to wear.”
Americans should ‘deromantize’ the holiday, she said, by “engaging Indigenous perspectives that recognize the diversity of Indigenous peoples and their contemporary presence in 21st century America.”
She suggests that adults teach children using children’s books such as “Four Seasons of Corn: A Winnebago Tradition” by Sally Hunter. This will allow them to examine historical methods of subsistence and see how some continue to this day. Teachers, she said, can examine Thanksgiving myths with students, and older children can even study how Native Americans react to the holidays today.
Patch national staff member Dan Hampton contributed reporting.
Photo: This file photo from December 12, 2012 shows a sign welcoming visitors to the Blackfeet Indian Reservation in Browning, MT. Montana may be known internationally for its recreational gems such as Glacier and Yellowstone National Parks, but Native Americans say the state is losing an opportunity by failing to develop and promote its vast tribal lands as tourist destinations. . (AP Photo / Matt Volz, file)