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Nathan Dahm wants to teach your children well…

10:30 AM EST on November 30, 2021

Long before it was another commercialized, adulterated American holiday that encouraged the working class to be thankful that they get to leave their extended family’s annual dinner 5 hours early to open a corporate retail chain and field verbal and physical assaults from middle-aged women seeking discount toasters and Nintendo games, Thanksgiving had a different meaning.

It was a time of gratitude, reflection, and high caloric intake with loved ones and other relatives whose wills you’re trying to stay in. This year, I am very thankful to learn that one brave Oklahoman is doing his part to make sure the state’s youth are educated about the true history of Thanksgiving.

Via OKC Fox…

Senator Nathan Dahm, R-Broken Arrow, filed Senate Bill (SB) 1121 to help Oklahoma students understand the importance of Thanksgiving and the role it plays in our nation's history.

"It's important that students and all future generations understand the value of Thanksgiving," Dahm said. "Some of these proclamations date back all the way to our founding fathers and have serious historical significance that should be explored."

SB 1121 will require students to read, or be read to them, five Thanksgiving proclamations in the five days leading up to Thanksgiving.

The five historically significant proclamations the bill seeks to have students read include the following:

The Proclamation by the Continental Congress for a day of Thanksgiving in 1777.

The First Presidential Prayer Proclamation issued by George Washington in 1789.

The Thanksgiving Proclamation issued by Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1944.

The Thanksgiving Proclamation issued by Ronald Reagan in 1985.

The Thanksgiving Proclamation issued by Oklahoma City Mayor Sidney Clarke in 1889.

For those of you who do not plan to be students in the Oklahoma public education system anytime soon and thus have no intention to actually read these proclamations, they basically all boil down to 100 to 400-word short essays calling for folks to be grateful for American exceptionalism and give thanks to everything that the Christian God has bestowed upon the fine citizens of this country.

On the surface, requiring these readings may seem like a harmless tactic to pander to the rightwing, religious voter base. But in reality, these readings may really be a harmful tactic to pander to the rightwing, religious voter base.

For one, these proclamations are basically a prayer book in a trench coat. Dahm’s claim that the bill will help facilitate the learning of the “history” behind Thanksgiving appears to be a thinly veiled attempt to incorporate Christianity into the classroom. Instead of focusing primarily on reflection and gratitude, each proclamation Dahm selected revolves around prayer to the Almighty God. The last I checked, public schools are supposed to be as separate from the teachings as a church as a lawmaker is from the values they campaign on.

Secondly, Dahm is as selective in his choice of historical readings as the hearing of the average Oklahoma male when Thanksgiving dinner cleanup begins.

The selected readings highlight themes such as American victories in war, capitalist productivity, and the plight of the pilgrims, but each conveniently glosses over the role of Native Americans in this so-called history, not to mention the trauma initiated and sustained by colonialism that continues to affect folks to this day. These “historical” documents present a narrative that is whiter and more tasteless than a boiled potato.

There is nothing wrong with encouraging kids to reflect on what they are thankful for come Thanksgiving. There is nothing wrong with students learning about presidential proclamations. But there is something very much wrong with passing off whitewashed, religious propaganda as history.


Read more about the National Day of Mourning here. Then follow Hayley on twitter @squirrellygeek and become a contributing member of TLO here.

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