According to some of my friends at work, I might soon become responsible for some dewey-eyed pre-schooler asking this of his or her mother.
The community college where I teach is home to a well-regarded day-care center that is the core of a program for training people to work with pre-K children. Earlier this week, the other history instructor at the college – who is also the mother of a child who attends the college’s pre-school – was asked to some and talk to the little kiddies about Thanksgiving. We both found this funny, given that – like me – she can’t discuss this topic without frothing a bit and using words like “genocide.” In any case, she can’t do this when they asked due to her class schedule.
Our assistant dean has now passed the request on to me. Joy.
I’m really caught here. On the one hand, while I know not to describe rape, robbery, and murder to little kids, I’m at a loss as to what I should say if I accept. On the other hand, if I do accept I can at least try to talk about this without all of the layers of mythology (another colleague’s child brought home a kindergarten assignment on T-day that is marked correct if the Pilgrims are described as “eating and playing games” with the Native Americans).
My best thought so far is a friend’s suggestion that I just talk about the Native Americans – that these people were farmers, maybe show some artists renderings, and try to get the message across that not all Native Americans are Plains Indians.
Of course, I could also wind up with a room filled with terrified children looking at the huge man with his newly regrown beard.
I don’t know.