Eighty teachers from across the country to take part

The College of Education is hosting two workshops to study Santa Fe and its history and interactions between Native Americans and European settlers in a pair of weeklong workshops supported through a Landmarks of American History and Culture grant from the National Endowment of the Humanities.

The $160,000 grant is designed to bring schoolteachers from around the country to Santa Fe to study the history and interactions between Native Americans and European settlers in weeklong workshops. The project, titled "Contested Homelands: Unpacking the Knowledge, History and Culture of Historic Santa Fe, New Mexico," will be directed by Assistant Professor Rebecca Sánchez. The award is unique for the college because the NEH generally funds museums and humanities scholars.

The project has also received the participation and support of the Palace of the Governors, the State Historian's Office and others who were instrumental.

"We prepared a grant application and developed a project that was deeply rooted in the humanities," said Sánchez, who teaches in the Department of Teacher Education at the CoE. "The NEH funds projects to provide teachers with summer workshops that combine the study of the humanities with historically significant places. We thought with our rich state history including the Pueblos and the many historic sites such as the El Camino Real de Tierra Adentro and the Palace of the Governors, that we might be able to get funding for the project."

Two separate workshops will be conducted. Eighty K-12 teachers will come to Santa Fe to study its history in depth through exploration, interpretation and hands on through available documentation. The workshops will be structured around the concept of homelands and will include the study of historic sites, artifacts and stories in historic Santa Fe, New Mexico and surrounding communities. The teachers will put historical sites, documents and resources of the Santa Fe historic area into context through a focused conceptual study on homelands.

The workshops also coincide with the 400th anniversary (based on European settlement) of Santa Fe. However, settlement in the area by Pueblo Indian groups predates even this milestone occurrence, as they settled along the banks of Rio Grande as long ago as the 6th century CE noted Sánchez.

"This celebration is a timely opportunity for teachers from around the country to study the complex history and culture by investigating the historic sites of Santa Fe and surrounding Pueblos," said Sánchez, a native New Mexican. "Santa Fe is often introduced into the discussion of American History around the topic of European exploration and expansion or sometimes later yet as a discussion about the establishment of the trading route along the Santa Fe Trail.

"However, vibrant communities flourished in this place long before European exploration and later settlement. As this region moved toward statehood, the United States inherited the memory and material creations of the region. When it became part of the U.S., the country had to incorporate this history into the national narrative of American history. The place is itself a homeland with a larger story," she added.

Sánchez said the following essential questions would help guide the work of participants in the workshop. What are homelands? How do homelands stretch, shrink and shift over time? What happens when homelands overlap with one another? How does (perpetual) colonization, conquering, and resistance transform homelands and create new ones? What is the spiritual story of a homeland? How do the artistic products and structures of a homeland tell a story? What connections do people have to a homeland and how are these connections manifested in history and in present-day? And importantly, for the purpose of this workshop, how do the Camino Real and the Palace of the Governors exemplify the multifarious and layered unfolding of homeland in an area that had a vibrant system of Pueblo communities prior to European Settlement?

"Specifically, the Camino Real de Tierra Adentro and the Palace of the Governors will be interpreted, studied and contrasted with the Pueblo history of the region to understand the complexity of historical homelands," said Sánchez. "Additionally, structures, museums, centers and libraries in the historic district of Santa Fe, New Mexico that house artifact and document collections, will be utilized to foster deeper understandings.

"It's exciting for me to be able to research and learn about my home state and to look back into all the documents that are available. I'm glad I can collaborate with other institutions such as museums and libraries committed to education. It's exciting and professionally rewarding for me."

The workshops begin the week of June 13-19 and June 20-26. The Palace of the Governors Museum complex has offered classroom and auditorium space for the workshops.

For more information e-mail, homeland@unm.edu.

Media Contact: Steve Carr, (505) 277-1821; scarr@unm.edu