Each year during November, which is National Native American Heritage Month by the way, we like to take a look at some of the great resources for our kids about the Native experience. Especially as we approach Thanksgiving.
Because without the Wampanoag people, there wouldn’t have been a first Thanksgiving at all.
In that light, Liz has put together a great round up of Thanksgiving books for kids from the Native perspective, and we found some awesome historically accurate Thanksgiving coloring pages that we love.
And this year, we’ll be reading the 40th anniversary edition of The People Shall Continue by Simon J. Ortiz and illustrated Sharol Graves with our kids over the Thanksgiving break. Because this is a seriously thought-provoking, conversation-starting book for kids.
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In The People Shall Continue, Puebloan poet and writer Simon Ortiz tells an epic history of the Native and Indigenous peoples of North America in the poetic rhythms of Native oral storytelling. It starts with their Creation narrative and continuing on to modern day struggles.
Be warned: this isn’t a sugar-coated, everybody’s-happy, why-can’t-we-all-get-along story. It’s the difficult, true history about a people who have been oppressed for centuries. And while it’s told for children, it’s still the story of struggle — against an invading people who didn’t respect their land, against the destruction of their Nations, and of their living as slaves.
But, of course, The People have persisted, and they’ve remembered their beliefs and found solidarity with other oppressed people too. Even today, the Sioux people of Standing Rock still struggle against developments that compromises their sacred lands.
I see the book as a wake-up call for all of us to come together, respect each other, and respect this land we call home. For my part, I’ll be reading it with my kids and asking them to make some suggestions about real changes we can make in our own family, so we can honor some of this ancient wisdom too.
You can find the 40th anniversary edition of The People Shall Continue by Simon Ortiz and Sharol Graves at your local bookstore, your library or our affiliate Amazon. (And for those of you teachers or homeschool parents out there, the publishers have a great study guide available for free too.)