Native News Network Staff in Native Briefs. Discussion »
TAHLEQUAH, OKLAHOMA Visitors from across the US gathered in Tahlequah on July 6 to participate in the two week Summer Abroad in Cherokee Nation Program, a course designed for students who are interested in enhancing their knowledge of Cherokee language, culture and traditions.
Summer Abroad in Cherokee Nation participants learn
how to create traditional clay turtles.
Seventeen students from Arizona, California, Oklahoma, New Mexico and Washington participated in this year's program, which is a partnership between Cherokee Nation Foundation and Northeastern State University. The curriculum offers daily classes in beginning conversational Cherokee and Cherokee identity and sovereignty. Some students take the course for credit, which they can transfer to their home universities.
“The abroad concept means that participants will come to Tahlequah and NSU from outside the area, many from outside Cherokee Nation's jurisdiction,”
said Julia Coates, Cherokee Nation Tribal Council member and program coordinator.
“When they come here we want to emphasize that they are entering a nation, hence they are abroad.”
In addition to language and history classes, the students participated in daily activities including attending traditional ceremonial dances, learning to make traditional Cherokee pottery and shell gorgets, and playing traditional Cherokee games like stickball and marbles. The students also took cultural tours in Tahlequah, Claremore and Sequoyah County.
Nancy Miller, a Summer Abroad student from Seattle, Washington, said that she wanted to participate in the program to learn more about Cherokee culture.
“It's important to me to contribute to the Cherokee Nation and give back some of what I've been given so generously from the nation and the more I understand the culture the more I can participate and contribute to the community,”
posted July 27, 2012 6:20 am edt