Friday, April 27, 2012

US History Field Trip

Go West, Young Man 
By Bryce Lungren with photos by Dean Marshall

On Friday, March 23, 2012, Dr. Stewart King's US History class embarked on a weekend field excursion to Bend, Oregon.  Fifteen MAS college-four students teamed up with Dr. King on this annual trip to explore the culture of early American Indians as well as the first settlers of the western frontier.

Dr. King and some of his history students

Some of the beautiful view on the drive to Eastern Oregon

Dr. King said that part of his objective in this expedition was to talk about America's native history before the European presence.  He added that another aspect of the trip was to get an appreciation of the western frontier experience in relation to President Truman's life.  The class at this time was studying about the life and times of Harry S. Truman.

Clyd Rex Jesleva in The Museum at Warm Springs

On Saturday morning the group traveled north of Bend to the Warm Springs Indian Reservation to visit The Museum at Warm Springs.  This museum depicts through artifacts and replicas the Indian culture from prehistoric times to the emergence of western European settlers.


US History student Brad Fisher from the Diocese of Sacramento said that his favorite part of the museum was to be able to go inside a teepee and see how it evolved into a house.  He commented that he thought "they had more space that Subiaco."  Subiaco is the temporary living facility on the MAS campus that has rather modest sized living quarters.  Mr. Fisher did a year in Subiaco.

Returning to Bend Saturday afternoon, the sixteen MAS historians ventured to the High Desert Museum where they viewed real life reenactments of some of the first European settlers in the Bend area.  They were able to visit a segment the museum was featuring called "Black Impact: African American History in the Far West."


MAS students explore the exhibits at the High Desert Museum.

The highlight of the High Desert Museum for seminarian Dean Marshall, who is also from the Sacramento diocese, was the real characters that acted as late 19th century homesteaders.  He said that "the live history was a really amazing experience."

After attending Mass at Saint Francis of Assisi Parish in Bend on Sunday morning, the US History class headed north back over the Cascade mountain range to visit Fort Vancouver, the refurbished 19th century Hudson Bay trading post located in Vancouver, WA.  Here the students were able to get a unique glimpse into the fur trading industry before the settlers moved into the area.


Interior displays at Fort Vancouver

Dr. King and his students inspect a cannon at Fort Vancouver.

One aspect of Fort Vancouver that many of the students found fascinating was the company's self-sufficiency.  To keep the trading post operating many people had to work together doing various jobs such as gardening, cooking, and metal fabrication.  This reminded history student Hung Le from the Diocese of Honolulu of his childhood growing up in a Vietnamese village.

The visit to Fort Vancouver marked the end of the US History weekend excursion.  The college-four students arrived back at MAS Sunday evening.  Dr. King's hope for his students was that they gain a historical appreciation for the civilization of the western United States.

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