Indian Time - A Voice from the Eastern Door


SLU Students Present Posters at Mohawk School


Professor Elvira Sanatullova-Allison (right) and the first year seminar students who spent time in Akwesasne as part of the community based learning component of the course. Photo courtesy of Dr. Elvira Sanatullova-Allison.

Students in a first year seminar at St. Lawrence University under the direction of Dr. Elvira Sanatullova-Allison, completed a community based learning component of the course in Akwesasne. Brenda Papineau, Director of Community Based Learning Partnerships, organized for the students to go to the Akwesasne Freedom School, the St. Regis Mohawk School, the Akwesasne Boys & Girls Club and the Akwesasne Library and Cultural Center. Brenda explained, “I coordinate Community Based Learning at St. Lawrence University.  In this capacity, I work with faculty from various departments that wish to incorporate this particular pedagogy into their course. In doing so, I connect faculty with the appropriate agencies and organizations that best match their course content.  In turn, the agencies and organizations get extra hands to help with their un-met needs and the students are able to use the course content to reflect on their experience.  The focus of these partnerships are grounded on a foundation of reciprocity and ensuring a mutually beneficial relationship, as well as a quality experience for both parties.”

 Recently, the class held a poster presentation at the St. Regis Mohawk School to present their paper topics on various Native American issues. The poster presentation wrapped up their time in Akwesasne and also acted as a medium to share their experience of learning and serving in Akwesasne. Many students did posters on education, and coupled that topic with crime, family influence, the No Child Left Behind act and immersion. Other topics included environmental and health concerns, cultural genocide and the various policies that affect Native Americans.

Brenda explained the purpose of Community Based Learning, how the program started and its growth. “In its simplest form, CBL gets students out into the community as part of their academic work.  In the spring of 2006, we piloted in partnership with the ABGC, an opportunity which brought an entire course from St. Lawrence University to Akwesasne to ‘learn and serve” in a different cultural context.  Since then, approximately 228 students have participated in the opportunity to travel to Akwesasne and engage in after school programming with a variety of sites.  In this capacity, the SLU students can be found tutoring, leading literacy activities or simply playing kickball or other sports with the youth.  The Poster Presentation Night that is held at the end of each semester is offered to showcase the students’ work and afford the community with an opportunity to hear their stories.” In the fall, watch for the next SLU class in Akwesasne.


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