November 09, 2007

Cardboard version of Thanksgiving

Linda LeGarde Grover:  The Thanksgivings of the pastI recall tracing our hands on paper that we colored to look like turkeys, and drawing designs on a strip of paper that the teacher stapled together at the ends and told us were Indian headbands.

I recall the cardboard cutouts that she set out on the chalk tray: a Pilgrim man in coat and knickers; a Pilgrim woman in a long gray dress who held the hand of a small girl dressed like her mother; two tomato-red men, nearly naked, and with strangely pointed heads, who carried aloft large platters of food. These were the friendly Indians, the teacher explained. From their appearance, they might have been from another planet. They didn’t look like any Indian men I had ever seen: my dad and my uncles, whose skin deepened and sunburned to a beautiful tan with summer work, wore work clothes or blue jeans.

I decided that the “First Thanksgiving” must have been mythical, and had little in common with our Thanksgiving Day at home.
Comment:  For more on the first Thanksgiving, see Ten Little Pilgrims and Indians.

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