My block break adventures on the Colorado River!
It’s hard to believe that my FYE is over! After 7 weeks of the same classroom, classmates and professor, I am both nervous and excited for a change!
Upon returning from New Mexico, we continued to look critically at the history of that fascinating state further armed with first hand experiences there. We discussed several books pertaining to New Mexico – first, the book we read throughout the field trip “Land of Disenchantment,” an ethnography on New Mexico, and second, Leslie Marmon Silko’s novel “Ceremony.” The second book in particular was interesting to me because it was a work of fiction studied in a history class. The novel was written following the Native American oral traditions and narrated the troubles of a half-white half-Laguana [Pueblo] WWII veteran. The book addressed the ideas of dualism, [conflicting] identity, which we saw a lot of in New Mexico, and Native traditions. This discussion of Native ceremonies and traditions was a good transition into our next topic: folk healing and religion.
To supplement Santiago’s fascinating lectures and anecdotes from his own culture and experiences with borderlands folk healing, we read “They All Want Magic: Curanderas and Folk Healing” by Elizabeth De La Portilla. We learned a lot about the interesting blend of Mexican traditions, Catholicism and herbal medicines/ medical treatments that still persist today.
Finally to wrap up class, we discussed Mexican/American immigration and the Border -wars, particularly Santiago’s specialty: the Drug War. We watched several fascinating and revealing documentaries on both and discussed the role of Mexican immigrants in American History.
While all this reading, discussing etc… was going on, we were also frantically working on our final research papers that we started oh so long ago in first block, as well as preparing a final presentation about our papers to give to the class. On the friday before the papers were due, we peer edited our essays and met with Santiago individually to talk about what we needed to work on.
I wrote my paper on saloons on the Rocky Mountain Mining Frontier and how they contributed to the social and economic development of the towns. However, topics ranged from water rights in the southwest, to Native American burial traditions. I know that I had a great time listening to everyone’s presentations and learning about what each of my classmates became experts on.
Finally, after the last paper was handed in before noon on Wednesday, we were done with class! Many of us decided to relax at school while others, like me scattered to the woods and other wild places of the southwest.
I went on a 5 day, whitewater rafting trip down the Colorado River through CC’s Outdoor Recreation Club. Although it was chilly, I had so much fun rafting and kayaking down the class 2-4 rapids in beautiful Westwater canyon in Utah.
Its been fun writing for this blog, hopefully it gives you a little insight into daily life here at CC,