He suggested an article that claimed that “what we learn in school regarding Thanksgiving internalizes oppression”
Lewis D. Ferebee was chancellor for the Washington D.C. public schools and sent a letter encouraging parents to “decolonize Thanksgiving,” a holiday he stated brings up “horrors.”
Ferebee thanked the community for their support and encouraged families to remain safe during the COVID-19 pandemic. He then included a message titled “Recognizing the Holiday’s History.”
The chancellor stated that Thanksgiving can be difficult to celebrate because of the historical context and the horrific treatment inflicted upon our indigenous peoples. ” To celebrate Thanksgiving, our Equity team shared resources.
Ferebee wrote, “If you host Thanksgiving dinner, consider doing a Land Acknowledgement.” Ferebee linked to the Native Governance Center in his message. This non-profit is dedicated to helping “Native nations.” Ferebee links to a land acknowledgment page. Do not sugarcoat the past. “Use terms such as genocide, ethnic cleansing and stolen land to refer to actions taken by colonizers.” (emphasis added).
Ferebee also shared two articles that decolonize the holiday” and suggested books for adults and children.
He shared an article from Bioneers that claimed “What we learn in school regarding Thanksgiving internalizes oppression.”
The article states that “By reaching children when their brains are still forming, it normalizes the idea of America as a European-descendant country, Christian above all.” Children of diverse ethnicities and religions implicitly learn that American history is not about their roots.
According to the article, Americans should tell “the true story of Thanksgiving”, serve local food and “address oppression through widening your circles.”
The other article, from a site called Cultural Survival, warns that “stories told about the first Thanksgiving often perpetuate harmful stereotypes and racism.”
The article encourages Americans to “learn to be real historians,” noting that Thanksgiving, like Columbus Day serves as a reminder about the genocide, violence, and deaths Native communities endured and continue to suffer.
The article encourages Americans to eat Native American foods, to listen to their voices, to support legislation that reverses a Trump-era policy and to support Native American artists. To buy Native products, share positive portrayals of Native Americans and to “End Racist Native Mascots In Sports.”