Four Encore classes offered through Community Learning Center will help students explore the cultural heritage of the Four Corners


During winter months, outside learning is more apt to mix being inside and outside, and San Juan College’s Community Learning Center is offering cultural field trips this winter that do just that.

On Jan. 23 and 24, instructor Michael Lawson will take students to the San Ildefonso Pueblo for Feast Day celebrations and ceremonies.

"Feast Day celebrations of this Tewa-speaking community date back to 1300 A.D. and honor both church and traditional observances through Mass and vespers — a firelight procession — followed by sunrise Buffalo-Deer and Comanche dances," Lawson said.

The class will visit the Indian Pueblo Cultural Center in Albuquerque to gain background on Pueblo cultures before the visit. Students need to register for this class by Jan. 17 due to class logistics.

Beginning Jan. 25, "Cultural Museums of the Southwest" with instructor Linda Wheelbarger will take students to the Anasazi Heritage Center near Dolores, Colo. While there, students will visit Escalante Great House, a Chacoan site behind the Anasazi Heritage Center, and Dominguez Ruin, a site which contained a Chacoan burial.

"The woman buried at this site was someone of importance — a high status individual — as she was interred with an elaborate abalone shell pendant in the shape of a frog and turquoise mosaics, as well as numerous other items," Wheelbarger said.

In February, Lawson will lead two more field trips, "Along the Rio Grande: Spanish Colonial New Mexico" and "The Civil War in New Mexico."

"We’ll begin our studies for both courses at the New Mexico History Museum in Santa Fe," Lawson said.

Students also will visit the Museum of Spanish Colonial Art described as the "only museum in the country dedicated to exhibiting and interpreting the art of the Spanish colonial period including Hispanic New Mexico."

At the National Hispanic Museum, the class will consider the legacy of Miguel de Cervantes through the Cervantes and Don Quixote Exhibition marking the 400th anniversary of his death. For the Civil War course, Lawson plans to explore the historic battlefields preserved by the Pecos National Historical Park and Fort Union National Monument.

"The monument was the staging area of Union troops reinforced in the nick of time by hardy volunteers from Colorado’s mining camps," he said.

All four of these classes are Encore classes offered through the Community Learning Center. Encore classes are designed for adults 50 and older but are open to all students 18 and older. For New Mexico residents 65 and older, the class cost is $5.75. For residents under 65, each class is $46.75 and for non-residents, the cost is $146.75.

For full details on Encore classes, including how to register, go to or call San Juan College’s Community Learning Center at 505-566-3214.

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