The first Thanksgiving was held in 1621 (it’s on the internet (see below) so it must be true). Present were those native to America and colonists who came from other lands. For almost 400 years, millions upon millions came to America or were and are ancestors to those who came from other lands, some by choice, some by force. For hundreds of years, those living here have worked to reconcile those roots and our differences, fought and protested to establish a democracy and fought again for every person’s freedom, and worked to open doors for equity, equality, and every person’s access to opportunity.
“Give me your tired, your poor, Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, The wretched refuse of your teeming shore. Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed, to me: I lift my lamp beside the golden door. ” - Statue of Liberty transported to U.S. in 1886
1621, 1886, 1954, 1972, 1978, 1982… and we are still trying to figure it all out. And, much of that responsibility is upon you – upon those of us immersed in public education. **
What we do know is that among the great equalizers is public education! And, here, after years of struggle, laws, and Supreme Court rulings, our system of public education is a “free and appropriate” education for every single child, not some, every! And, it is still up all of us to make it work for every student; not some of us for some students and some of us for others - and to build on your remarkable successes and to keep figuring it out for all.
THANK YOU! To those of you behind the scenes in offices, on our grounds, and in our buildings and to those of you working with our students daily in classrooms and offices and on fields , thank you all for your dedication, your work, and your support connected to learning – learning and a sense of belonging which insures this opportunity for every child no matter when he or she or his or her ancestors arrived. Have a safe and restful Thanksgiving.
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* Borrowed from what I sent to our wonderful faculty and staff Wednesday
** 1954 Brown v. Board of Education, 1972 Title IX, 1978 PL 94-142 (IDEA), 1982 Plyler v. Doe
Our national holiday really stems from the feast held in the autumn of 1621 by the Pilgrims and the Wampanoag to celebrate the colony's first successful harvest. – Scholastic
In 1621, the Plymouth colonists and Wampanoag Indians shared an autumn harvest feast that is acknowledged today as one of the first Thanksgiving celebrations in the colonies. For more than two centuries, days of thanksgiving were celebrated by individual colonies and states. It wasn't until 1863, in the midst of the Civil War, that President Abraham Lincoln proclaimed a national Thanksgiving Day to be held each November. – History.com
One day, Samoset, a leader of the Abenaki, and Tisquantum (better known as Squanto) visited the settlers. Squanto was a Wampanoag who had experience with other settlers and knew English. Squanto helped the settlers grow corn and use fish to fertilize their fields. After several meetings, a formal agreement was made between the settlers and the native people and they joined together to protect each other from other tribes in March of 1621.
One day that fall, four settlers were sent to hunt for food for a harvest celebration. The Wampanoag heard gunshots and alerted their leader, Massasoit, who thought the English might be preparing for war. Massasoit visited the English settlement with 90 of his men to see if the war rumor was true. Soon after their visit, the Native Americans realized that the English were only hunting for the harvest celebration. Massasoit sent some of his own men to hunt deer for the feast and for three days, the English and native men, women, and children ate together. The meal consisted of deer, corn, shellfish, and roasted meat, far from today's traditional Thanksgiving feast. – Kids National Geographic