Sometimes when you're asked to teach others, you wind up learning quite a bit yourself. These past few months have certainly taught me that.
I hate flying. Every time we take off and every time we land, I’m sure I am living my last moments on Earth. In fact, since I was little, I was convinced it was my destiny to die in an airplane, thanks to a pair of fun-loving cousins and their Ouija board. So, when I was given the opportunity to fly to New York last semester to attend the “Community College and the Future of the Humanities” conference being held by the CUNY Humanities Alliance, you would have expected me to hesitate. After all, New York is quite a difference from the desert city in which I make my home. I jumped at the chance, however, and I am glad I did.
When many people think about Native Americans or American Indians, a few standard images come to mind. They typically envision people from the Great Plains, riding bareback on horses with feathered headdresses, or they conjure up images of Apache men holding a rifle. Sometimes they think about cartoonish portrayals of “Pocahontas” or the “Indians” associated with modern Thanksgiving. Inevitably the popular imagination includes an association with nature and “spirituality,” or alternately, some degree of savagery and violence.
On 31 October, 2018, El Paso Community College (EPCC) students participated in an event aimed at encouraging them to learn about and feel inspired by their community’s history. The Humanities Collaborative at EPCC-UTEP sponsored the event, which took place at the EPCC Northwest Campus where students presented their projects centered on historic sites in El Paso, Texas that are rumored to be haunted.
Some may not see connections between the rolling hills of England's Lake District and the rugged desert southwest of the Texas-Mexico borderland, but the one thing that is for certain is that the humanities can make connections anywhere in the world.