On Monday September 14, students from HY 111 – Colonial Latin America, got the opportunity to spend their class time outdoors at the Rec Fields engaged in an active learning experience. Professor Juan Ponce-Vázquez invited students to try their hands at the atlatl, a Native American spear thrower. The atlatl was a weapon commonly used by the Mexicas (previously known as Aztecs) and other Mesoamerican societies in Central Mexico, as well as indigenous civilizations in the Mississippi delta for both hunting and combat.
In class, students were introduced to Mesoamerican cultures and the violent encounters between Spanish conquistadors, led by Hernan Cortes, and the Mexica Confederation in the early 16th century. In the fields, students’ use of atlatls gave them an opportunity to experiment with a powerful Native American weapon and tool.