A $170,000 grant has been awarded to CSU Monterey Bay by the National Endowment for the Humanities for a program to train teachers from around the country about the history of California's missions.
Ruben Mendoza, professor of archaeology at CSUMB, along with students Jewel Gentry and Jennifer Lucido, wrote the grant for NEH's "Landmarks of American History and Culture" program. The program supports a series of one-week workshops for K-12 educators at historic sites to address themes related to American history, government and the arts.
The grant awarded to CSUMB was one of 22 nationwide, and one of only three awarded in California. The grants were announced to Congress in September.
"I've already got a host of phone calls from people interested in this project," said Mendoza, who has studied the California missions for more than 25 years.
The CSUMB workshop, called "The Fourteenth Colony: Native Californians, Missions, Presidios and Colonists on the Spanish Frontier, 1769-1848," will be hosted on consecutive weeks next summer at four missions near Monterey, including Carmel Mission.
During each weeklong workshop, 20 mission scholars will train a group of 40 teachers about how to integrate history of the missions into their American history curricula. In the years after the workshop, each teacher is expected to educate hundreds of students about the missions.
Between the late-17th and 19th centuries, Spanish missionaries built the series of missions as part of a large-scale effort to convert native peoples to Christianity. The 21 missions, part of the El Camino Real, or "Royal Road," were built about every 30 miles between San Diego and San Francisco. The missions are among the oldest standing structures in California.
"Typically when we talk about American history, we talk about the American movement westward," said Mendoza. "We often neglect to consider the northward movement of Spanish peoples in the colonial era and the evangelization of native populations that became the substrate of American communities today.
"If NEH is willing to fund a project concerning the missions," said Mendoza, "we've finally gotten to the point where there's a national audience for it."
Chris Palmer can be reached at 646-4494 or email@example.com.