History Lesson: Native American storyteller teaches the true meaning of Thanksgiving

History Lesson: Learning from the Turtle Clan
Published: Nov. 24, 2023 at 6:18 AM EST|Updated: 14 hours ago
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CANTON, New York (WWNY) - Perry Ground is a member of the turtle clan and the Onondaga people. The master storyteller joined students at Canton Central School this week to tell them Native American stories.

“I am a storyteller,” he said. “I get to travel all around the nation sharing Haudenosaunee stories to teach people about our history, our culture, our beliefs, and I do it in a fun way, so they have fun while they’re learning.”

The stories themselves are only half of the lesson being learned.

“I want students to go away having fun and interested in history and culture, but I also want them to take away that we are a modern people, and we have traditions important to us, but we are modern people living in a modern world.”

It’s a lesson particularly relevant during Thanksgiving.

“One thing I wish more people knew is we call ourselves Haudenosaunee. And as a Haudenosaunee person, not an Iroquois as the French called us,” Ground said. “It’s important to call people what they want to be called.”

He says this week is the perfect time to learn more about Haudenosaunee people and remember the real meaning of Thanksgiving.

“If we think about that, I think we will all have a happier Thanksgiving.”