Re-thinking Thanksgiving – A Native American Perspective on an American Holiday

Tuesday November 7th at 6:30pm.  Free to the public. Please register here.


     This lively, engaging, and content-based presentation will give an overview of the history of this very misunderstood holiday.  Based on the only primary source documents that chronicle the “First Thanksgiving” and using a quiz-style format (everyone will ‘take’ the quiz as part of the program), participants will learn accurate and culturally appropriate information about the English settlers at Plimoth and the Wampanoag, the Native people who inhabited that area.


     The presentation will discuss the actual events of 1621 including the feast, the relationship between the English settlers and the Wampanoag and how this story became the holiday we know today.  The concept of thanksgiving held by many Native Americans will be emphasized throughout.


     Although they were not present in Plymouth in 1621, connections to the Haudenosaunee (Iroquois) concepts of Thanksgiving will be discussed so students will understand how Native Peoples view Thanksgiving today.


Biography of Presenter – Perry Ground

     Perry Ground is a Turtle Clan member of the Onondaga Nation of the Haudenosaunee (Iroquois) Confederacy.  He has been telling stories for over 20 years as a means of educating people about the culture, beliefs and history of the Haudenosaunee.  Perry learned most of the stories he shares from the elders of various Native American communities and feels that practicing and perpetuating the oral traditions of Native people is an important responsibility. 


     Perry also gives presentations on a variety of aspects of Haudenosaunee history and culture.  Sharing information in age-appropriate, engaging ways allows Perry to dispel stereotypes and misconceptions about Native People.   


     Professionally, Perry has worked in several museums including The Children’s Museum of Houston, Sainte Marie among the Iroquois, Shako:wi Cultural Center and Ganondagan State Historic Site.  He has shared his stories in countless museums, libraries, classrooms, and festivals throughout the northeast and also has guest lectured at numerous colleges.  Currently, Perry is the Project Director of the Native American Resource Center in Rochester, NY.