Sanitizing “Indians” in America’s Thanksgiving Story

Center for American Indian Studies Programs
American Indian Studies Seminar Series
Wednesday, December 14, 2011

5:30 - 6:30 pm

B-91

Sierra Adare-Tasiwoopa ápi, SUNY Buffalo

In addition to entertaining, children’s books educate by exposing youngsters to diverse cultures and experiences. In the case of Thanksgiving stories, they provide children’s first, and often only, exposure to “Indians,” while promoting a history that endorses the vanished race stereotype in order to glorify colonization. This paper locates master narrative discourse in America’s Thanksgiving stories, examines ways in which authors and illustrators uphold or counter this myth of America, and explores how the Thanksgiving story might be indigenized as articulated by Debbie Reese, as well as the ramifications of a more balanced approach to this iconic American legend.

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