Tender Sapling

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When Cross-Cultural Exploration Bombs: A Wampanoag Thanksgiving

Ok. I never thought I’d start a post with this title. Not me. A lover of all things global. A world citizen junkie. Someone who spent fifteen years working in various forms of international education on three different continents. Nah.

But this is real life, and I want this blog to be authentic, capturing both the highs and the lows, so I’m sharing our recent cross-cultural experience that fell flat. First, let me qualify that what I’m about to share is not just another story of American kids who think that Africa is a country and can’t find the United States on a map. My kids so love diving into other cultures that all three of them (ages 9, 5, and 2) recently begged every time we got in the car to listen to the biography of the Ghanaian King Peggy until we had completed all 11 cds! Now, some background:

We’d just wrapped up learning about the first European settlements along the Atlantic coast of North America. After studying about Roanoke Island, Jamestown, and the French expeditions and settlements in Eastern Canada (we’d already covered Greenland’s early history last year), we dove into the Pilgrims.

Our two oldest sons soak up everything Powhatan while at Jamestown.

The library was a treasure trove. We dragged heavy bags of books home and read a lot about the Pilgrims, their journey across the Atlantic, the founding and survival challenges of Plymouth Colony, the original inhabitants of Southern Massachusetts – the Wampanoags, Squanto and how his farming knowledge aided the Pilgrims, the First Thanksgiving, and more. Since Thanksgiving was approaching, when questions of menu for the big American holiday came up, a light went off in my head. Continue reading