By Nicki Heskin
As a result of all this, in my opinion, dressing as and "playing Indian" in school, certainly as a school sanctioned (taught!) activity is inappropriate. Not only is there no *one* native culture that can be emulated, but there is simply no other curriculum that allows or permits this sort of behavior. Would we ever send Kindergartners to school dressed as black field hands to learn about slavery? And if we did, would we do it with construction paper hats and clothing? Would we ever dress kids up as German Nazis (in lederhosen?) and Jews (in prayer shawls and curls?) to learn about the Holocaust? And if we did, would we call parents who objected "oversensitive?" Would we then stage a dinner party with these kids dressed as Germans and Jews set before World War II as an example of how these two groups once ate and lived together so nicely, and ignoring what happened next? It's absurd to even suggest it.
Don't think an innocuous Thanksgiving pageant involves scorn and hatred? Here's what a lot of Americans are thinking about Indians:
But we don't like to think about that. We prefer a guilt-free version of history in which the Europeans and Indians were friends. You invited us into your homes and made us feel welcome. We worked together to found this country of ours and celebrated it with a great feast.
That's our story now and we don't want to hear any other. Don't you dare contradict our national myth or we'll get angry. We let you live in our country and gave you casinos, but don't put on airs and think you're equal to us. This is a white Christian nation now and you're still heathen savages.
For more on the subject, see Kids Reenact First Thanksgiving.
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