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College Library Prepares For Thanksgiving By Sharing Guideline On ‘Decolonizing’ The Holiday


by Neetu Chandak

A Massachusetts college library is preparing for Thanksgiving by sharing a guideline on “decolonizing” the holiday on their social media.

McQuade Library at Merrimack College posted an article by St. Mary University professor Lindsey Passenger Wieck titled “Decolonizing Thanksgiving: A Toolkit for Combatting Racism in Schools” on its Facebook page Monday.

“Here are some wonderful resources for teaching children about Thanksgiving!” the Facebook post said, Campus Reform first reported. “This is great for educators and parents. #Thankgiving #DecolonizingThanksgiving #AntiRacism #ChildrensEducation #NationalDayofMourning”

The article provides sample letters parents can send to schools to stop what Wieck calls “problematic” classroom activities surrounding the holiday and offers alternate children’s books suggestions.

The article also includes also a list of resources for educators and family members that help them teach Thanksgivingin a “socially responsible” way. One of the resources suggested was “Ten Ways to Make Your Thanksgiving about Social and Environmental Justice,” by Eve Bratman.

“By taking a decolonizing approach to teaching about Thanksgiving, teachers and families reject the myths of Thanksgiving and harmful stereotypes about Native peoples,” Wieck wrote. “Instead, teachers and families can de-romanticize this holiday, by engaging Native perspectives that recognize the diversity of Indigenous peoples and their contemporary presence in 21st-century America.”

The school took out “#NationalDayofMourning” in the Facebook post after it was called to Merrimack College spokesman Jim Chiavelli’s attention, who described the phrase as “inappropriate.”

“It in no way reflects the position of the college,” Chiavelli told The Daily Caller News Foundation over email.

Chiavelli added that he is holding a staff meeting Wednesday to “discuss protocols for firmer social media oversight.”

The post including “#NationalDayofMourning” was reportedly on Twitter as well, according to Campus Reform.

National Day of Mourning is a protest against racism and oppression, according to United American Indians of New England’s website.

“Many Native Americans do not celebrate the arrival of the Pilgrims and other European settlers,” the group’s website says. “Thanksgiving day is a reminder of the genocide of millions of Native people, the theft of Native lands, and the relentless assault on Native culture.”

The United American Indians of New England did not immediately respond to TheDCNF’s request for comment.

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