Indian Time - A Voice from the Eastern Door


By Ian Oakes 

St. Lawrence University Students Present Posters to Community


Kelsey Colpitts stands with her poster, which was about substance abuse in Akwesasne.

As another semester draws to a close, students from Professor Celia Nyamweru’s class, Environmental Perception and Indigenous Knowledge, gathered Thursday to show the results of their time spent in the community. The class, which had a component at St. Lawrence University and a component here in Akwesasne, would have a speaker each week from within the community. After attending the guest lecture, the students would then go out to their community based learning placement. It was a long day for the students who would leave at noon and arrive back on campus after 5pm. Each student created a poster dealing with a specific issue from within the community and not just specifically related to their placement. Students were given topics to research and then they created posters based on what they learned. In all, 9 Students from St. Lawrence University had placements and each completed a poster to show the results of their work, and what they learned while in the community.

Cullen Lapointe chose to create her poster on the traditional Mohawk Diet and how it’s related to culture.

Professor Nyamweru said, “The students are encouraged to question themselves about what they are learning as they come here. Because most of them come from areas that have nothing to do with the North Country, they don’t know a great deal about Akwesasne before they arrive.” Because Akwesasne can have a negative perception in the surrounding areas, Nyamweru explained that this course provides an opportunity to correct those perceptions.

This community based learning approach has been going on for each semester since the Spring of 2010, and for each class that completes the course they take a day and show the results of their work. Alumni within the community come out to show their support and see what each class has learned and is sharing.


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