Cultural Roots

The Block Plan at Colorado College has a tradition of innovation and flexibility. Please design your own three-and-a-half-week course and describe what you would do. (Recommended length: 2-3 paragraphs, maximum 500 words).

At Colorado College, I would teach an ethnic studies course focusing on heritage and family lineage. Essentially, it will be a research-based course that helps participants unveil information about where their family comes from and expand on prior knowledge. This course is relevant to students at Colorado College because it teaches how to obtain self fulfillment through the understanding of global diasporas.

During the first week, students will begin exploring their own family ancestry by obtaining an oral history on their grandparents or oldest family member. They will also conduct a geographic review of what’s currently happening in the area their relative originated. This project will be based on research obtained from interviews, the internet, books, and databases.

In the second week, students will find up to three traditional recipes for ancestral food. Students will have the opportunity to explore how these recipes have changed over the years in terms of contents and historical context. An example would be the presence of French baguettes in Vietnamese cuisine as a result of colonialism or the increasing amount of genetically modified corn found in Mexican foods such as tortillas. Students will analyze and discuss the effects of these changes.

Within the third week, students will do a cumulative immigration story of how the students’ families arrived at their current position. Upon completion, students will present their combined research findings on their heritage throughout the course as a final examination.

For the remaining half week of the course, students will recreate a recipe of food that family members talked about and share it with the class as a part of a celebratory potluck.

Inspiration for my curriculum came from my experiences in programs like Raices Culturales and Cocinas Sanas. Raices Culturales, meaning cultural roots, is a program that focuses on teaching Latinx youth their heritage in order to help them feel more culturally grounded. Through this program, I learned about ancient ancestral traditions like Aztec Dance and the importance and prominence of Latinx artists. Cocinas Sanas, meaning healthy kitchens, is another program that influenced me. This program focuses on teaching its members how to cook traditional foods in a healthy way in order to live a life devoid of health related disease. My favorite part of Cocinas Sanas was when we organized a tamale fundraiser. Due to the increasing prominence of heart disease in the Latinx community, Cocinas Sanas intentionally buys non-GMO cornmeal and uses all organic ingredients.

In the end, my main goal of this course is to inspire young people to learn about not only their genealogical descent, but also their traditions and cultural roots. I find stories detailing how families immigrated to one of the most diverse countries in the world to be fascinating. Family lineages are ubiquitous yet unique.

Leave a Comment