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 Cherokee Culture and Education 
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Joined: Mon Aug 31, 2009 4:50 pm
Posts: 2
On October 20th, I attended a presentation by Dr. Allen Bryant on the culture and education of the Cherokee Indians. Every spring break he takes a group of eight to ten students to the Cherokee Reservation to help out at the schools. While there the students help at the Start Up program for two or three days, and then at the regular K-12 school the rest of the time. Recently, they just build a new state of the art school that was paid for by the money they make off of their casino. He was telling us about how the education system worked on the reservation and what most of the kids do when they graduate. If the students want to go to college, they will have it completely paid for but a good portion of them never go because as soon as they graduate high school they receive $38,000. In the long run, that is hardley any money but he made the point that to an 18 year old, that is pretty tempting to just take the money. It would be a great opportunity to go on spring break and learn about this culture, and get the opportunity to help teach their students. He said he has never had any guys go with him, and he would love it if anyone is interested. Many of the young men in the community have no elder men to look up to, because there is a drug/alcohol problem, so he believes it would be a great for the younger males in the community to have some positive male role models to spend some time with.

My name is Bryan Thaddeus Gallimore, I am from Asheboro, North Carolina and I am also a P.E. major. I am 22 years old and love sports, movies, and music.

Mon Oct 26, 2009 8:07 pm

Joined: Sun Nov 01, 2009 9:53 pm
Posts: 4
I also attended a seminar that discussed the Cherokee Indian nation in western North Carolina. The event was incredibly interesting and informative; I have not spent much time researching the Cherokee and all that I really have as far as knowledge is limited and most likely incorrect. The speaker talked about his grandfather who grew up on the reservation and suffered from alcoholism. I have always heard the stereotype that Native Americans are alcoholics because the do not have anything to do. In the past, I have always brushed this aside and not considered the greatness of this disease. He spoke about a people who are struggling to find and to keep their identity amidst so much outside influence and requirements.

This seminar made me stop and consider what life must be like for children growing up on the reservation with such difficult issues constantly surrounding them. They experience many hardships, but they also have much handed to them such as the $38,000 when they graduate from high school. Knowing that something like that is going to be simply given to you decreases the incentive to make a legitimate effort. I can imagine students becoming discouraged from seeing the complacency and destructivity around them, knowing that they are going to get a large sum of money when they graduate, and simply checking out from life and following the same road as all of those before them. Thankfully, there are exceptions to every rule and the Cherokee certainly have those who stray from this plaguing cycle. It is these students who deserve the highest respect; they are living proof that one can rise above any situation and excel.

Mon Nov 23, 2009 3:33 pm

Joined: Tue Aug 25, 2009 7:37 pm
Posts: 3
I attended the Cherokee seminar back in October as well. I had heard a lot about Dr. Bryant and this particular trip before because my roommate went on it last year during spring break. I was also interested in attending this particular seminar because although I don’t look like it at all, I have relatives who were Cherokee Indians. Previous to the seminar I hardly knew anything about their culture or education system. I went to the reservation on a family vacation when I was young but unfortunately I only remember the touristy parts.
Dr. Bryant was enthusiastic and very passionate about promoting tradition and awareness of the Cherokee people. He first told us a few stories about his journey to becoming a teacher and his Cherokee family. I thought it was interesting that this was the second seminar I attended where the speaker didn’t go to college intending to be a teacher. He told us about how his grandfather was the person who really inspired him to teach history and show others about the family culture.
Previous to the seminar I had never really thought about what it would be like to have an Indian student in my class, or what the education system would be like on a reservation. From the seminar I learned there are a lot more problems in the Cherokee community than I had ever known about. Alcoholism, domestic abuse, and divorce are just a few that make achieving in school difficult for Cherokee students.

I think knowing about other cultures is very important for educators because we will be teaching students who come from many diverse backgrounds. Most of the time we only think of other cultures as being the north versus south or in other countries. This seminar made me appreciate the fact that we have such an amazing and historically rich culture right here in the mountains of North Carolina.

Natalie Powers

Tue Dec 15, 2009 6:18 pm
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