The Experience Doesn’t Fit the Words and the Words Don’t Fit the Picture

IMG_20151014_094428205[1]All together the library field trip was very enjoyable. Though its purpose was to educate us about our eminent people, it was still a very laid-back and inviting environment for learning. I found that the activities were pretty independent or were carried out in small groups, which I think made me more productive, but also more engaged. I think that this way of learning is more memorable and more appealing to me because it’s highly experiential. I like how the researching portion of the field trip was incorporated so seamlessly with the leisure time of the field trip. It blurred the line between work and play, making the learning more interactive as well as closer to my personal interests.

Through this field trip I have learned a lot including what and how an “urban solo” works. The free time to think before the fieldtrip about what we wanted to get out of the day really helped me become more organized as well as get more things done than I had expected. I also learned to make the most of the time I had to research by experience as I spent a little too much time looking for my books and not enough time reading them—I should have stuck to the plan I made during my thinking time in the urban solo. I hadn’t documented the day well before this fieldIMG_20151014_124601179_HDR[1] trip, so I am glad that I got to experiment with picture taking and journal writing to express my feelings as well as thoughts throughout the day. It really helped me to summarize the day, identify the key points, and write this blog post now. I think it’s a really great skill to have and I will definitely apply it when we go to our retreat. Most importantly of all, I learned about my eminent person and actually decided, after doing some research, who my eminent person would be. Though I wasted some time learning about someone who is not my eminent person, the research really helped me figure out who I wanted to study.


The things I have learned from this trip will definitely influence my eminent project, from who I am actually studying, to the way I study and how I look at that research. Seeing the way other people were investigating their eminent person helped me improve the way that I research and got me to experiment with different styles of examining to find out what works best for me. Having time in the library to do some researctesth really helped me put all of the work in to perspective and put me more at ease because I realized how much I will enjoy learning about my eminent person. I also got some perspective on how this project will work, as I was a bit confused up until that point. This library trip really clarified who I wanted to study for eminent and that has a huge impact on my content of course. However, most importantly of all, this field trip got me very enthusiastic about diving in to the eminent person project and sparked my passions which I think will shine through in the final product.

Starting out at the beginning of the day, I had a very different idea of how the trip would work out; I thought that I would find all three of the books I was looking for at the library and that I would have plenty of time to begin reading them, tumblr_n0q3kjV1ka1s7hdjvo1_500I thought that the research would continue to the book store, as well as be more collaborative in the researching methods. However, I only found two of the books that I was looking for and go an audio book to replace the last book. I didn’t have time to read as much as I would have liked but I decided who I would study for eminent which exceeded my expectations for the day. I found that in the book store, I didn’t really study my eminent person and used that time for leisure time and to pursue other topics of interest. Though I didn’t study my eminent person at the book store, I had a great time learning about a few other topics, but also getting to know my classmates better through this portion of the field trip. The research in the library however turned out to be more independent than I had expected but I think that this made me a lot more productive and focused on the objective.

I had a great time at the library and at the book store. The aIMG_20151014_094138817_HDR[1]tmosphere all together was friendly, relaxed, but also very educational at the same time. I really liked the balance we had in the day between time to socialize and time to be independent, but also the balance between time to research eminent people and time to leisurely explore other topics of interest. I liked learning and researching in this very experiential and interactive way where we get a lot of say in how we do things but also the chance to be part of a bigger group if we choose. The bus way there and back was a lot of fun and I am glad that we got that time and time between the library and book store to get to know each other a bit better. In a nutshell, I think that this day exceeded my expectations in nearly all aspects, though in a surprising and subtle way.


A Truly Phenomenal Woman

This is Maya Angelou reciting one of her most popular poems, Phenomenal Woman.

Maya Angelou is best known for her poetry, but she was also an educator, a historian, a playwright, an actress, an author, a civil rights activist, a wife, and a mother not just to her son, but to all the people she has empowered through her work. Maya Angelou was an incredible mentor to many including Oprah Winfrey and Lydia Stuckey as well as an inspiration to many people out there who found her story enabling and inspirational. Maya says at the begging of one of her books: “I have birth to one son, but I have thousands of daughters. You are Black and White, Jewish and Muslim, Asian, Spanish-speaking, Native American and Aleut. You are fat and thin and pretty and plain, gay and straight, educated and unlettered, and I am speaking to you all. Here is my offering to you.” However, she had a very rocky road before she became who she was.

Maya was a child of divorce and grew up in her grandmother’s house with her older brother. She was raped at the age of seven by her mother’s boyfriend who was later murdered by other people in her family. She was born in a time of extreme inequality for African Americans and women. She was a very young mom who got pregnant after the first time she had sex and was a single mother for much of her life. Maya Angelou has faced hardships that I cannot even begin to imagine. She has taken everything that she has experienced with such grace and patience, but with a fiery passion that has never died down. Through her experience she has become the powerful, independent, black woman who don’t need no man, that we all know and love!—she actually got married to a Greek sailor later on in life, but that doesn’t really change anything, I just think that its important to know all of the facts. Maya Angelou used her experiences to become a very successful civil rights activist and as fuel to write provocative poetry, stories, biographies, and plays. Maya Angelou has no doubt changed the lives of many women, the lives of people part minorities, and the lives of so many other people through her career, as well as through her kind and loving nature.

I chose Maya Angelou for my project because she is a role model of mine and I hope to be at least half the woman she was one day. I know I stress this point a lot, but she had a very hard life, and he came out of those adversities and made sure that other people didn’t have to go through her experiences again. She had a strong passion for social justice the same way I do now and I look up to her for inspiration in my small scale efforts to continue her legacy in fighting for equal rights for minorities and women. Maya was a women in modern society who not just understood a lot of the struggles that we face today but vocalized them and advocated for them in the same way that I hope to be brave enough to do some day. She used her writing in a meaningful way and told her relatable story through her writing, something I would love to learn to do.

Maya Angelou became the voice for so many people who were silenced and told her story unapologetically to get her very important themes across—that theme being equal rights for minorities. She told her experiences to help find her identity, but also to help others find theirs. She became a very impactful person in her field and was and still is a role model to many people today including me. I think that she died knowing her accomplishments had an influence on society and that she died happy knowing she had reached as well as exceeded so many of her goals.

Some fun facts about Maya Angelou are: She really enjoyed wearing UGG boots, one of her influences was Ms. Flowers a teacher at her school who introduced her to books and poetry, she was born on April 4th 1928 in St. Louis Missouri, she enjoyed watching Law and Order, she attended California Labor School as a young adult, she was good friends with Nelson Mandela, and she liked to listen to country music, especially Carrie Underwood.


Overlooked but not Forgotten

I am not the kind of person who is very interested in history or wars, but one aspect I found interesting about the English Civil War is the role of women and minorities. I thought the role of women and minorities was an interesting piece of the civil war because there is some mystery around it; most of the articles I read did not mention this subject so I am very curious about it. The involvement of women and minorities varies a lot throughout the history from the Natives to the Mesopotamians and I am curious about this specific instance. This is a theme exhibited throughout all of time but not explored deeply in social studies yet though we have touched on it when learning about world history so I would like to explore it more. This is a subject very close to my heart as I am very passionate about social justice issues especially when it comes to equality of gender and race. I hope to explore this topic more and answer some of the questions I have.

Some questions I have concerning the involvement of women and minorities in the English Civil War are: “How were they treated and viewed most of the time?” “How did they affect the English Civil War?” “Did they have any say in what went on in their country or were they marginalized?” “How were they effected by the demographic shift?” “How has society evolved to encourage equality for women and  minorities?” and “How does all of that compare to today?” I think that there are conclusions that can be drawn from these questions that are relevant to the situation women and minorities face today. The answers to these questions could definitely help us put our social trends in perspective on a much larger scale to aid us in solving some of the issues we encounter. I will know I answered the questions well by reviewing the inquiries I had and tracking my answers as I go.

This topic, as I mentioned above, is a theme that has been woven through time, it is something that nearly all societies have struggled with including our own today. This is a topic we have touched on in social studies in the past when talking about older nations and how their societies worked; we focused a lot on social standings and got the chance to zero in on minorities and women at that time FN1. This topic has also been explored in some of the books we have read in English class in the past like The Outsiders that talks a great deal about social inequality; we have gotten to explore the role of minorities especially as well as women in greater detail through books like that. I think that the connections between this theme and the curriculum shows that history repeats itself and that all societies ultimately struggle with similar issues which we can learn from today.

FN1 Some specific instances where we studied women and minorities in social studies was when learning about slaves in Rome, the women in the dark ages who had to take on a lot more responsibilities, as well as when we learned about the Greek philosophers and their theories on equality.

Technology in North America From 1400- 1600

Looking back at older civilizations we see many of the same patterns re-occurring. However technology is something that is unique to every nation and always changing due to our ever growing knowledge. North American technology was no different and varied greatly from tribe to tribe among the Native Americans. In the end they all had rather similar tools despite difference in materials. Tools were mainly made up of stone since it could be found widely, but many animal parts as well as wood was used. Many tools were hunting weapons such as axes, arrows, spears, knives, clubs, and tomahawks. When the Europeans came, they introduced iron and new weapons like guns. Still other tools were also very important to the Native Americans such as tools to aid farming, fishing, the making of clothes, and the making of transportation such as canoes and travois. The Europeans and the Native Americans were very different when it came to tools and the same can be said for architecture. First Nations had varied houses but they had very open and communal floor plans as well as a natural style whereas the Europeans that settled in North America had closed off housing meant for single families most times and were made in a European style. Yet the Native Americans and Europeans did not differ much when it came to agriculture. Of course the European agriculture was more industrialized whereas the First Nation’s agriculture was more community based. Both civilizations knew how to irrigate, terrac, and rotate crops as well as plant wind breaks. They also both raised domestic animals for food purposes. What they grew was different but their methods for actually growing them was quite similar. The technologies of the First Nations and the Europeans had differences and similarities but many of them still both live on today.

You may have noticed that I mainly focused on the Native American technologies; this is because at the time North America was a very young nation and didn’t have many of its own technologies yet, it mainly borrowed from the European technologies which I would not consider their own.


To learn more about North America between the 1400’s and the 1600’s you can visit Alicia’s blog, Alec’s blog, or Alan’s blog.


Questions Against Humanity

What has a bigger influence on human culture, behaviour, and personality, our nature (commonly defined in this argument as genetics) or our nurture (commonly defined as our environment and experience)? People have looked at this questions from cultural, scientific and philosophical points of view, yet this debate is still wide open and discussed a lot in our modern era. Since I explored this topic in the Columbus paragraph, I decided to get more in depth with this idea. There are some compelling arguments made on both sides of the debate. People who come down on the side of nature have many studies done with twins that support their arguments. Twins who were separated at birth and had grown with completely different experiences and environments found each other in their adult lives and turned out to have many of the same mannerisms, interests, strengths, weaknesses, and mental health struggles. Scientist observed that these twins had incredibly similar personalities and behaviours despite being raised by different people in another environment. The scientists who favour nurture also have done extensive research to prove their point, this was their take away: some genes are only activated by certain settings and situations; therefore, nurture is more important. But what does all of this mean and how does it apply to you? Well what it fundamentally means is that there is only so much that we can change. We like to think that we are very in control of what we do and how we act. However, in reality, we are greatly affected by things that we can`t always change like our genetics and often times our environment and experiences. Yet we can still make our own choices and that is very important. What I personally believe is that it is split down the middle, that we are equally affected by our nature and our nurture. Both are important to the existence of the other and you can’t have one without the other; you might want to think of a yin and yang symbol to embody this idea. What I hope you as the reader take away from this is a heightened awareness of your life and how it is affected by your nature, nurture, but most importantly your choices.

This is where I got the image from.


“Survival of the Richest?”


This is a short video that just re-caps a lot of what Columbus did.

As we read the exert, the Spaniards consistent greed and cruelty surprised me to a great extent. How could they be so violent and spiteful when treated with nothing but respect by the Arawak? Where they born that way? Or did their hierarchical society turn them in to desire crazed people obsessed with external objectives? Understanding why the Europeans took over the land of the First Nations in such a needlessly forceful manner is crucial because much of our modern western society was based on their culture and ideals. By recognizing the mistakes our early society made, we can fix the foundations and make sure that our civilization never treats another in the way that the Europeans treated the Arawak when they first met. This is obviously important to do this because genocide is one of the worst things that can happen to a nation and we should always do our best to prevent it because all human lives matter equally—something the Europeans didn`t understand at the time. However, there is a lot of scientific evidence that supports the idea that humans are not naturally aggressive. “…aggression is not our primary “go to” behavior …(PB1)” says Agustin Fuentes Ph.D. an Anthropologist who works at Notre Dame University. In fact, it is suggested by many researchers that humans are naturally altruistic in the same way the Arawak were throughout all of the events which took place. Though in the past people have shown aggression by nature, it was always in times of hardship, which the Europeans were clearly not under. The fact that their expedition was in search of non-essentials is evidence of that. It is much more likely that the overflowing aggression of the Europeans was due to living in a society that was a “survival of the richest” if you will. Their society had a strong hierarchy set in place that intensely promoted the idea that having a high social status and great wealth would make them happier, and overall a better person. This made many people desire money and fame, as Columbus had. I think that his desire for the idea of success made him blind to what he was destroying in the name of progress (a whole culture and a nation of people). He wasn`t the first and won`t be the last to do immoral things in the name of progression, especially since there are so many similarities between modern western society (PB2) and the Spanish society in the 1400s. Hopefully, by identifying the problems in our society, we will be able to stop more things like this from happening.

[PB1]There are 3 types of aggression that comes naturally to humans under stress, however the Europeans were not suffering from any of these. For more information you can visit this link

[PB2]Our society is greatly influenced by the Puritans, however our society has taken many of the ideals the Spaniards had such as an emphasis on external objectives, and the emphasis on fame.