History of the American Southwest, Summer 2006

From June 9 to 19, 2006, a group of seven students accompanied Dr. Chris Huggard on a trip to the Southwest as part of the requirements for the Honors History of the American West. The trip met part of the requirements for the class and served to "bring history into their everyday lives." The course combined in-class knowledge with out-of-class learning that facilitated the students' abilities to understand the history of the American Southwest, but especially the history of the Pueblo peoples at San Juan, San Ildefonso, Santa Clara, and other pueblos in New Mexico. Below are some images (taken by Cali Terrasas and Brent Robbins) and captions showing the fun and learning that went on. The students--Alycia Allen, Amanda Culmer, Hannah Desrocher, Maria Pulido, Brent Robbins, Gemma Saunders, and Cali Terrasas--also wrote journal accounts of each day that were published in the Benton County Daily Record (for copies, see Dr. Huggard). All-in-all, the students had a great learning experience with memories that will last a lifetime.

Student Brent Robbins jumping from swing.

The travel caravan stops near Oklahoma City on Day One (June 9) at Roy Trent State Park for food and fun.

Dismount; impressive. Landing; room to be desired. Student Brent Robbins "launches" into the trip on day one, while Maria Pulido (swinging), Gemma Saunders (standing), and Alycia Allen (seated) seem, for the moment, blissfully unaware of the flying body next to them preparing to crash down. Some would say this "flying buttress" was a key part of history (see medieval cathedrals).


Houston, we have a problem.

"Houston, we have a problem." Students found plenty to laugh about outside of an eclectic home in Albuquerque, New Mexico; from a bowling ball garden, a wine cork station wagon, a lightpole decorated in womens shoes, and a scooter parked in a tree, these home owners clearly aimed to make a lasting impression on tourists such as ourselves. Mission succeeded!

This home, just a couple of blocks from Old Town Albuquerque, reveals the diverse types who live in the famed Rio Grande city.


Indian Dance at Indian Pueblo Cultural Center.Despite blazing temperatures, members of the Hopi tribe perform their "Buffalo Dance" at the Indian Pueblo Cultural Center in Albuquerque. The dancers performed two dances that day, this being the second of the pair. The first (unpictured) was the "Rainbow Dance." For some, this event provided the most stirring and spiritual moment of the ten-day adventure. These dances celebrate the gifts of nature as well as their respect for the "others" of the earth.


Student Hannah Desrocher gives her best Emergence Story look.

Student Hannah Desrocher gives her best "Emergence Story" look, inspired from a famous illustration showcased in the Indian Pueblo Cultural Center. This shot was taken from inside a Kiva located in Pecos National Historic Park, visited on the fourth day of the trip.

The Pueblo Peoples all believed that they came from the Underworld where they had been pure. Now above ground, they were introduced to "evil" in this new parallel world. Such beliefs connect the Indians to the material as well as immaterial worlds as presented in their myths.


Catholic Church remains at Pecos National Park.

This church, built in 1692 and located in Pecos National Historic Park, stands over the remains of its predecessor which was burned and partially dismantled during the Pueblo Revolt of 1680. Upon closer inspection, the students found blackened wood debris, left from the fire, in the mudbricks used in the adobe architecture.

Like many missions, the Pecos peoples combined their own religious beliefs with that of the Christians. Consequently, the ornamentation of this church and others reflect those combined beliefs in the Southwest.


Silverton & Durango Railway.This shot of the Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad along the cliffs above the Animas River was shot by Cali Terrasas. The students on the trip "oooh'd" and "aaah'd" on the three-and-a-half hour ride from Durango, before finally "stepping back in time" to the dirt streets and buildings of the nineteenth-century mining camp of Silverton. During the ride, the students learned about the filthiness of coal-driven locomotives and the great differences in temperature from the warmer river valleys to the climactic peaks in the Rockies.


Riding the historic Silverton & Durango Railway.

From foreground; Alycia Allen, Amanda Culmer, Hannah Desrocher, Gemma Saunders, Brent Robbins, Maria Pulido (stop hiding, Maria!), and Cali Terrasas as they prepare to get underway on the Durango & Silverton.

On the return trip, with weather temperatures dropping on the mountain, some students chose to ride in the closed compartments of the train. What to remember during your trip on the Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad? Wear glasses, or some other form of eye protection! The soot from the coal engine will wreck havoc on your vision otherwise.


Looking down on Mesa Verde.Brent Robbins took this spectacular shot of Cliff Palace in Mesa Verde National Monument in southwestern Colorado. Moments after this picture was taken, a Park Ranger took a fresh group of visitors into the 13th-century Indian habitation. To give an idea of the grand scale on which this structure was built, picture a group of fifty people surrounding just one of the circular openings (Kivas) seen in the picture to the left. An engineering feat of unprecedented proportions, the Athabascan peoples built this complex of dwellings, storage bins, and kivas (religious/political rooms) in two months.


Chris Huggard teaches his students a thing or two.

Professor and trip coordinator, Dr. Chris Huggard, "teaches students a thing or two" with the wide open spaces of Pecos National Historic Park and a blue New Mexico sky as his backdrop.

Huggard experienced his own emergence story from one of living a quiet peaceful life, to one of quiet despair after 5 days with a group of college students. You can't tell but he's already lost 15 pounds after the first 5 days.


Night lessons.

Proving that his sharing of knowledge is not confined to the classroom (or day time hours!) alone, Dr. Huggard points out pieces of history to students Maria Pulido (foreground), and Hannah Desrocher (middle) on a night stroll in gorgeous Sante Fe, New Mexico.

Here outside of the Museum of New Mexico was the first government building (aside from Indian structures) in what would become the United States as Santa Fe was founded in 1606, the year before Jamestown's founding in Virginia.


With Utah as our backdrop.

With the culmination of their trip drawing closer, students (left to right) Maria Pulido, Alycia Allen, Hannah Desrocher, Brent Robbins, Amanda Culmer, Cali Terrasas, and Gemma Saunders pose for a group shot on day eight. With a sharp enough eye, you can just make out the mountainscapes of Utah setting the backdrop! This vista on Mesa Verde reveals the vast spaces and open skies so common to the American West.




For questions/comments on this content, please contact honors@nwacc.edu.