This year, I’ve been on a mission to track down more culturally and historically accurate Thanksgiving coloring pages for my own kids and for our readers. Because most of us know by now that, however uncomfortable it may be, the story of Thanksgiving that so many of us grew up with as kids is nowhere near the real story.
What a gem I’ve found in the website Many Hoops, a site created by Native American Paula Bidwell along with Pilgrim descendant Lea Gerlach. With the site, they’re hoping correct a lot of the mythology around Thanksgiving.
Along with plenty of information and educational resources, they’ve created a decent selection of more historically accurate Thanksgiving coloring pages, complete with helpful information for parents and educators to be able to elaborate on the information with kids.
It’s not a slick site, but it does the job.
They offer historically accurate Thanksgiving coloring pages sorted in categories like People Coloring Pages for Thanksgiving, many depicting prayer or spirituality from both the Wampanoag and Pilgrims, so we can see their similarities “on the same earth under the same sky.” The pages also include a lot of women, something we don’t always see.
There’s a bit about harvesting and food, with accuracy around the role of children — there were few Pilgrim children to begin with, and they didn’t tend to hang out and dance in circles and play games with the Wampanoag, as other coloring pages would have you believe.
What might be of most value, educationally speaking, is the entire series of Thanksgiving coloring pages and activity pages telling the story of Squanto.
We often see images of him attending the first Thanksgiving or collaborating with the pilgrims, but the pages on Many Hoops begin with his family’s kidnapping when he was a teen, to his decade exiled in England and Spain, and then the difficult journey he made back home before becoming so essential to the real history of Thanksgiving.
It’s wonderful for kids to get a fuller context of his life story beyond “the Native American who was at the first Thanksgiving dinner.”
You can even put the pages all together into an entire activity book for your younger Thanksgiving guest.
Oh, and it’s helpful for kids to know that the Pilgrims didn’t settle in Plymouth. They settled in a native Patuxet village which had been nearly entirely wiped out by a leptospirosis epidemic, then renamed it Plymouth Colony. That should lead to some good Thanksgiving dinner discussions, huh?
Visit ManyHoops.com for free printable Thanksgiving coloring pages and other activities that are historically accurate. And be sure to check out the parent and teacher resources on Thanksgiving, which offer great activities and lesson plans, as well as thoughtful ways to correct mythology from the idea of popcorn at the first Thankgiving, to understanding why for Native peoples, the holiday is a day of mourning.