Seattle public schools want a side of political correctness served on your Thanksgiving table.
Washington state's largest school district sent letters to teachers and other employees suggesting Thanksgiving should be "a time of mourning" for its Native American students.
The memo, from Caprice Hollins, the district's director of Equity, Race & Learning Support, included an attachment to a paper titled "Deconstructing the Myths of 'The First Thanksgiving.'"
It includes 11 "myths" disputing everything from what was served at the first Thanksgiving (no mashed potatoes or cranberries) and who provided the food to the nature of the Pilgrims themselves: Myth No. 3 calls the colonists "rigid fundamentalists" who came to the New World "fully intending to take the land away from its native inhabitants."
But what got the Internet abuzz was Myth No. 11: "Thanksgiving is a happy time." It was followed by "Fact: For many Indian people, 'Thanksgiving' is a time of mourning ... a bitter reminder of 500 years of betrayal returned for friendship."
Hollins would not defend her letter, but David Tucker, a spokesman for the district, said it was an effort to be sensitive to minorities in Seattle schools.
"One of the core elements in education is not just understanding your own life history but also those of others," he said.
But one Seattle-area tribe says Thanksgiving is not somber on the reservation but a time to see friends and family, as it is for other Americans.
Native Americans in the Northwest celebrate the holiday with turkey and salmon, said Daryl Williams of the Tulalip Tribes. Before the period of bitter and violent relationships between natives and their culturally European counterparts, they worked together to survive, he said.
"The spirit of Thanksgiving, of people working together to help each other, is the spirit I think that needs to grow in this country, because this country has gotten very divisive," he said.
Nationally syndicated talk show host Michael Medved was more blunt.
"The notion that now you have a major school system sending out a message that, no, rather than expressing thanks we should emphasize guilt on this holiday — that is sick, it is destructive and it is anti-American."
Seattle Public Schools has been in the news before, not always for the performance of its students.
The U.S. Department of Education investigated in April after the district spent part of a federal Smaller Learning Communities grant to send 20 students to the "Eighth Annual White Privilege Conference."
After complaints last year, the district removed from its Web site a definition of racism that claimed planning ahead and individualism were examples of cultural racism.