College Writing 50/150AC - 'Researching Water in the West'
Instructor: Pat Steenland
Semester: Spring 2015 - Present


In College Writing (CW) 50/150AC, students learn of a history that is absent from the popular narrative of the California 'water wars,' — the Paiute Native Americans who for hundreds of years developed a sophisticated system of irrigation canals that made the valley bloom.  Their history was erased from the site's history by people who waged economic and land wars to control water rights. A primary goal in this class is to study these peoples through a shared experience: how their stories intersect through their connection to this contested resource. The course proposes an integrative narrative drawn from California history to look at particular issues of race, culture, and ethnicity.

In 2011, Jenna Cavelle enrolled in CW 50AC/150AC, "Researching Water in the West."  Through an ongoing community partnership in the ACES class, Researching Water in the West (CW 50/150AC), this fascinating history will be presented by a Paiute tribal member, Berkeley faculty, the Bancroft Curator and a former AC student, whose lives have been changed by unearthing and exploring this story. After four years of research in the Owens Valley with the Bishop Paiute, Cavelle developed the documentary "Paya, the Water Story of the Paiute", winner of the Best Short Documentary at the 2015 Red Nation Film Festival. Below is the trailer of this film.

PAYA trailer