Roseanna Belt, director of the Cherokee Center, and Lisa Lefler, director of WCU’s Culturally Based Native Health Programs, participated in the annual meeting of the American Anthropological Association held recently in Chicago.
Lefler organized a two-panel session for the national meeting titled “Research and Partnership: Old and New Lessons for Anthropologists from Native America.” The session included anthropologists and Native peoples in examining what has been done in the past and what needs to be done better in the future to provide a lasting, collaborative relationship, said Lefler. Belt gave a presentation on her experiences as a tribal member working with researchers.
“These sessions were needed to discuss important issues facing researchers working in Indian country,” said Lefler. “American anthropology was developed in large part from studies in Indian country. From Frans Boas and Elsie Clews Parsons, to the contemporary Raymond D. Fogelson and Margaret Bender, we have experienced years of trust, mistrust and navigation of partnership in the homes and communities of Native peoples. We have extracted culture, language and artifacts and conducted studies of almost everything one can study regarding the human body and experience. As anthros in Indian country, we have been cussed, heralded, despised, loved and evaluated.”
Papers for the sessions were presented by professionals in the field from linguistics, archaeology, ethnohistory, physical anthropology, ethnobotany and various sub-fields of socio-cultural anthropology.
“No other discipline has dealt with the legacy of past missteps and grievances as anthropologists who work among this nation’s First Peoples,” said Lefler. “Today, however, as most of these communities face tremendous challenges in health, education and economic disparities, as well as revitalization of language and culture, those of us who do work with Native communities feel privileged to be asked to assist because of skills our discipline provides. We have opportunities to work smarter and partner in our research as never before by listening and learning from our partners.”
Lefler said the sessions were well attended and participants expressed interest in planning future sessions.
David Westling, the Adelaide Worth Daniels Distinguished Professor of Special Education, and Karena Cooper-Duffy, professor of special education, recently met with educational leaders and teachers in Jamaica to discuss a proposal to improve education and training of children with severe disabilities.
The proposal includes creating a new master’s degree program in special education, developing a training center for teachers and launching a campaign to help educate Jamaicans about people with disabilities, according to an article titled “WCU Partnership with Jamaica to Address Special Needs Education, Support,” by Kate Chappell.
More than 60 National Ski Patrol instructors from across the Southeast came to WCU this fall for the organization’s daylong annual Outdoor Emergency Care Instructors training. The course prepared participants to train ski patrol members for the upcoming ski season.
WCU has hosted the annual training course for the past six years. Ben Tholkes, associate professor of parks and recreation management, and Bill Clarke, director of Ramsey Regional Activity Center, assisted in setting up the training.