Growing up in Massachusetts, we frequented the Plimoth Plantation, a recreation of the first English settlement where costumed actors play the roles of Pilgrim and Wampanoagnatives from the 17th Century. We once spent a chillyThanksgiving, dressed up as Pilgrims, sharing a celebratory meal with museum actors who stayed in their roles, and conversed with historically accurate speech patterns and accents. We loved trying to trick them into acknowledging that it was actually three hundred years later, to no avail! As we ramp up for Thanksgiving, it's nice to remember the diverse traditions involved with this distinctly American holiday. Here are a few ways to do that in the next week, including a just-announced screening this afternoon about a Native American lacrosse team.
Screening this Afternoon, Thursday 11/17: If you love lacrosse -- the fastest growing sport in the US -- dash over to a just-announced premiere of Iroquois Rising at the inaugural Museum Of Tolerance International Film Festival. The 53 minute documentary starts at 3:00 PM, and tells the story of the Iroquois Nationals Lacrosse team, who play as a sovereign nation in the World Lacrosse Championships. Last summer, the Iroquois were barred from traveling to the 2010World Games because the British would not recognize their passports as valid travel documents. One or more members of the Iroquois Nationals lacrosse team and/or Haudenosaunee (Iroquois) will be on hand for the event. Click here for more details.
Witness a Native American dance performance this weekend: Come to the W.M. Keck Children's Amphitheatre at Walt Disney Hall for a FREE performance by Red Thunder. With authentic regalia, consisting of vibrant feathers, intricate beadwork, handmade jewelry and headdresses, Red Thunder celebrates the unique heritage of the Plains Indians. The program will highlight music, song, and traditional dance while re-telling the stories that have been passed through generations. Saturday (11/20) at 11:00 AM & 12:30 PM. Performance tickets are FREE and are distributed on a first-come basis one hour before the show at Grand Avenue at 2nd Street. Click here for further details.
Celebrate Native American Heritage Month at a Family Sunday at the Museum of Tolerance: Come see performances by Sherman Indian High School White RoseSingers, Harrison Lowe and Mylo IronBear designed for a family audience on Sunday (11/21) from 12:00 PM - 4:00 PM. Click here for more details. Other activiites for Native American Heritage month include a special screening of the documentary Reel Injun at the Museum of Tolerance on Saturday (11/20); the film examines how Hollywood has contributed to the myth of the "injun." For more information call 323-549-6644.
Watch a Movie Together: See for yourself how Hollywood has portrayed Native Americans in these holiday classics. Everyone will love the music and spectacular animation in Disney's Pocahantas (1995, G), and those who've had some history at school may appreciate The New World by acclaimed director Terrance Malick (2005, PG-13). Romantics can take in Dances with Wolves, Kevin Costner's Academy Award winning directing and acting tour de force (1990, PG-13).
And finally, we heartily recommend visiting Plimouth Plantation the next time you are in Massachusetts, where historically accurate characters populate the replica Pilgrim village and interact with visitors. Check out this video field trip about The First Thanksgiving, that allows kids to be history detectives.