For many years, the Native Americans at the first Thanksgiving dinner were reduced to generic “Indians” in the national story. Today, the Plimoth Patuxet living-history museums at the site of the original Thanksgiving have created an online game to help school children learn about both the Pilgrims and the Wampanoag.
The former Plimoth Plantation had had a similar game since 2002, but the new updated "You Are the Historian: Investigating the First Thanksgiving" was created in collaboration with an Indigenous Advisory Committee, and puts much more emphasis on exploring Wampanoag life prior to European settlement and the year leading up to the 1621 harvest feast, today known as the “First Thanksgiving”.
The game is simple to access via a website, with nothing to install or download. It’s eminently educational while taking a game form. Ultimately, you can use it an information source: you can always progress from one section to another, and have unlimited attempts at the multiple choice questions.
The scenario is a school student who is going to write an article for the school newspaper. The student has a series of message exchanges with the teacher in charge of the newspaper, and they discover riddles from an “anonymous tipster”. The student must collect passwords by doing challenges at four locations in Plimoth Patuxet.
Tip: when you see a button saying reply, you don’t have to come up with an answer, just click to see the next part of the SMS conversation.
At the first location, pupils select eras for different archaeological artefacts. The second and fourth locations have a primary source document written by one of the Pilgrims about a meeting with the Wampanoag and signing a treaty. Tip: click on the “magic sea glass” to see and hear the document in modern English. There’s a simple fill-in-the-blanks text to help.
Plimoth Patuxet Museums
> A Native American View of Thanksgiving
> Columbus Day
> Thanksgiving Stories
> Thanksgiving on the Web