Thanksgiving Mural


Janelle Mejia, Journalist

Here on the Eleanor Roosevelt High School campus, students and teachers are excited to get a break from school and celebrate the national holiday of Thanksgiving. However, the Social Justice class at ERHS has recently put up a mural outside of their door to catch the eyes of students and staff, to voice the true tragedies of what has happened at the first Thanksgiving harvest in 1621.

Janelle Mejia
“Misconceptions vs. Truths” portion of the Social Justice mural

In the mural it explains the common misconceptions of Thanksgiving vs. the truth. For example, how the colonists and indigenous people got along after Thanksgiving however, 54 years after the first Thanksgiving feast the King Philip’s war broke out, which lead to the slaughter of thousands of indigenous people. When asking Erick Benas, a senior and Social Justice student, on the story behind the mural he stated,”In class, we have discussed how Eurocentric culture permeates our society. One of the reasons for its continuance is the comfort of dominant culture. By distancing ourselves from an issue, we can become immune to hardship, relieve ourselves of criticism, and start anew. However, the people who face the hardship do not have the same privilege. The story of Thanksgiving, which continues to this day, reflects this trend. We [the Social Justice class] did not want to call people out for spending time with their family and enjoying good food. We wanted to reveal the truth about Thanksgiving and honor Native Americans.” Furthermore, when asking Chloe Gonzales, a senior at ERHS about her initial thoughts when seeing the mural she states, “I was impressed and shocked when reading the true events and meanings of Thanksgiving and it made me realize that what I learned when I was younger was only half the story.”

Janelle Mejia
“Call-in-Action” portion of the Social Justice mural

Moreover, when asking Erick Benas about what he hopes that students and staff will take away from the class’s Thanksgiving mural he states, “Each part of the mural had its own purpose. The meme that demonstrates progressing stages of enlightenment is meant to help students and staff see what their mindset about Thanksgiving reflects. The ‘Misconceptions vs. Truths’ clarifies the widespread myths that are taught early on in American education. The last part was a ‘call-to-action’. After reflecting and learning, people are presented with ways to make use of their newfound knowledge through volunteering.” Furthermore, when asking Chloe Gonzales how this mural has changed her perception of Thanksgiving, she states, “I have learned way more than what I was originally taught in elementary school and I hope others will be willing to be educated on important topics like this that misconceive our society.”

Overall, here on the Eleanor Roosevelt campus, we are fortunate enough to have a Social Justice class who strives to educate students, staff and society to acknowledge the loss of Native Americans whose land we now own and cherish and the truth behind Thanksgiving.