Furriends for Finals: SPCA Therapy Dogs are Visiting Gleeson!

Are final papers, projects, and exams finding you a bit stressed? Gleeson has some friends visiting the library this week (and next!) to help with that. Take a study break and relax with some therapy dogs (and their super awesome humans) from the San Francisco SPCA!

Wrigley, Tessa Rose, Brixton, Ollie, and Callie will take turns visiting the library on:

  • Wednesday, December 6th, 1-3pm
  • Monday, December 11th, 1-3pm
  • and Tuesday, December 12th, 1-3pm

Stop by the first floor lobby of Gleeson to say hi and hang out with these amazing pups!

Photo: Shawn Calhoun

Reframing Thanksgiving

Historically, Thanksgiving traditions were celebrated as gratitude to the gods after a successful harvest. These traditions date back to Ancient Greece and Rome; they are not unique to nor did they originate in the United States.  

As a matter of fact, the day we celebrate as Thanksgiving Day (currently) was not the first Thanksgiving celebration in America. The first Thanksgiving in America was celebrated by a group of English settlers on the day of their arrival, December 4, 1619, and was celebrated thereafter thanking God for their arrival. The “official” Thanksgiving Day was first celebrated in October 1621, after the Pilgrim’s first harvest in Plymouth Colony. The Pilgrims celebrated and feasted on the harvested food, with the Wampanoag tribe in attendance. Thanksgiving was first named as a national holiday by President Lincoln. Since then, Thanksgiving  has been celebrated on multiple dates, until Congress declared it be celebrated on the fourth Thursday of November. To find out more about Thanksgiving as well as other holidays take a look at Holidays, Festivals, and Celebrations of the World Dictionary: Detailing More Than 3,000 Observances from All 50 States and More Than 100 Nations edited by Cherie D. Abbey.

Meeting of Governor Carver and Massasoit. This image is available from the United States Library of Congress’s Prints & Photographs division under the digital ID cph.3b42342 

Do we have Thanksgiving all wrong?  Sanitizing “Indians” in America’s Thanksgiving story by Sierra Adare-Tasiwoopa ápi & Melissa Adams-Campbell explains how the education system has overlooked the brutality and violence inflicted on the Wampanoag tribe by the Pilgrims. Children are told that the Pilgrims and the Native Americans lived in harmony, and this narrative chooses to not educate children on the dark side of colonization. When thinking about Thanksgiving, we usually associate it with family, gratitude and happiness. We do not think about the many Native Americans that lost their lives to foreign diseases, war, slavery, and genocide brought by colonization.

An encyclopedia entry on the Wampanoag, available through the library’s online resources, elaborates on the history of the Wampanoag tribe. Wampanoag people lived in various locations in southern New England. They began their relationship with the Pilgrims in 1620. “There began the now famous relationship between the Indians and colonists, and there occurred the celebration of the first Thanksgiving, although this was a Pilgrim religious feast that was observed, not shared, by the Wampanoag.”

Other online resources:

On this Thanksgiving, in addition to eating turkey, spending time with friends and family, and starting your holiday shopping, we invite you to view the ebook Massasoit of the Wampanoags, or read about other Native Americans. Take a look at the ebook American Indian Biographies, for example the entry on Squanto, whose life is simply fascinating, and who translated communication between the Pilgrims and the Wampanoags after escaping from slavery in Spain and living in England.

Heading image, [King (Metacomet) Philip, Sachem of the Wampanoags, d. 1676, full length, standing at treaty table with white men], available from the United States Library of Congress’s Prints & Photographs division.

Wednesday Wisdom


“Particularly in Western, late capitalist societies (where the decoration, ornamentation, and scarification of the body have lost much meaning for the individual in the existential sense of “Which people do I belong to? What is the meaning of my life?” and have instead become commoditized by the media, corporations, and even medicine in the name of fashion), the normalizing elements of such practices as cosmetic surgery become obscured.” (Emphasis added)

-Eugenia Kaw

Kaw, E. (1993). Medicalization of Racial Features: Asian American Women and Cosmetic Surgery. Medical Anthropology Quarterly, 7(1), 74-89.

Image: Pincet by Eelke

Foster Care – Student Social Justice Exhibit

Members of USF’s Kappa Alpha Theta fraternity have created a Student Social Justice Exhibit for Gleeson Library on the topic of foster care. The fraternity annually donates money to Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA), an organization that provides foster children with consistent, caring volunteer advocates, trained to address each child’s needs in the court and the community.

Through the library display the fraternity hopes to raise awareness of the broken foster care system in the United States and the effects on the children in the system. Visit the display to learn how you can help, by donating either money or time to organizations working to address this issue.

Gleeson Library invites USF students to create library displays on social justice issues near and dear to you. You come up with the idea and design your own signage. The library will supply the space and the books. Sound intriguing? We’d love to hear from you. Please email reference@usfca.edu to collaborate on a student social justice exhibit.