Two Tribes, One Vision: A Cross Cultural Experience
Two Tribes, One Vision
Project Overview: Middle school students from The Lippman School in Akron, Ohio and the Northern Cheyenne reservation in southeastern Montana have developed an educational partnership where they learn together in one another’s respective communities. Students participate in experiential activities and experiences that center around relationship-building, cultural understanding, team building, identity building, and student created content to teach each other about their history and culture. Additionally, students participate in cultural activities that are experienced together. The purpose of this shared learning is to experience one another’s culture, to learn more about those cultures, and to explore one’s identity through learning about another culture. The annual cost of this project is $20,000.
This is an innovative cultural exchange program among students, educators and community members from The Lippman School in Akron, Ohio and The Northern Cheyenne Tribe in Montana. This program delivers a new and compelling method for Jewish identity-building through experiences designed to immerse students in sacred traditions and experiences from both cultural groups. This project was published in the Slingshot Guide in which next generation funders recognize models for innovation in Jewish education.
Continuity and growth of this program will increase the number of individuals who deepen or begin a personal and poignant connection to Jewish identity, spirituality, and relevance as a Jew in our multicultural society. When students visit with Northern Cheyenne in their homeland, they learn directly from a people determined to remain in the land that is sacred to them–where their prophets and leaders built a great nation. Our students visit the Cheyenne’s sacred sites and learn directly from the descendants of the massacres, triumphs and spiritual journeys. They hear of survival and new beginnings to thrive again, seemingly against all odds. Sound familiar? Our students, who host and teach about Jewish life to Northern Cheyenne each fall, and also visit Israel in alternating years, build upon this cross-cultural learning to make powerful connections to their own history.
While program fees and grants support some of the logistics required to facilitate this partnership, there are significant costs to host tribal artists, cultural historians and students who bring artifacts and handmade traditional dress and instruments used during this experience. Additionally, the events during our time together include fry bread & challah making, beading class, bonfires, teambuilding activities, and travel to important local destinations.