Northampton Community College students explore culture at Dine College

Oct 17th, 2013 | By | Category: Online TC News, Tribal College News, Web Exclusive

FRYBREAD POWER. Diné College students demonstrate how to prepare frybread. Photo by Mario Acerra

Students and faculty from Northampton Community College (NCC) in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, visited the Navajo Nation as part of an intercultural exchange between Diné College (DC, Tsaile, AZ) and NCC. The exchange is an ongoing program spearheaded by DC sociology instructor Dr. Miranda Haskie and NCC professor Donna Acerra.

“It’s an exciting project where students from NCC come to Diné College and make contact with surrounding communities to learn more about the Navajo culture and our current lifestyles,” said Dr. Haskie. “Our students will also take part in the intercultural exchange by visiting NCC in Pennsylvania in November.”

NCC students’ one-week visit allows them to participate in a variety of activities that helps them gain a greater understanding of the Navajo people. Some of the activities include demonstrations of silversmithing, beadwork, and the preparation of traditional foods. Students from both DC and NCC tour nearby landmarks and historical sites such as Canyon de Chelly and Monument Valley. Also during their visit, NCC students will give a series of presentations on teaching and learning strategies, while DC students lead a service learning project at Tsaile Elemenatry School on anti-bullying.  Local families host the students from Pennsylvania.

Donna Acerra, a professor of communications at NCC, sees great benefit in the program. “We can read about other cultures and get a small sense of what we are teaching, but to truly help our students gain a deeper understanding we must try new methods,” she noted. “Through the intercultural exchange students will have a lasting knowledge of the experience of being immersed in the Navajo culture and environment.”

DC students in turn will travel to NCC. Students at both institutions have worked tirelessly on fundraising to support the project. Campaigns were launched in Pennsylvania and in Tsaile to maintain this three-year exchange project.

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