Published On: Fri, Apr 23rd, 2010

Parks as Classrooms

Archaeological Program opportunity for EBCI Teachers, Students

 

By SCOTT MCKIE B.P.

ONE FEATHER STAFF

 A unique program will allow EBCI high school students and teachers a chance to learn about the world of archaeological field work. 

Students from Robbinsville High School work in 2008 excavating an historic Cherokee winter house in the Smokemont area during a High School Archaelogy Field School. (Photos courtesy of Melissa Crisp/GSMA)

A Teacher Workshop, designed for teachers from Cherokee High School or teachers from other schools who are EBCI tribal members, is slated for June 14-16 with a deadline to apply of May 21.  The program is sponsored by Parks as Classrooms in conjunction with Great Smoky Mountains National Park and the EBCI Tribal Historic Preservation Office (THPO).   

 A High School Archaeological Field School, designed for EBCI high school students entering 9th grade – 12th grade in the 2010-11 school year or those students who graduated in 2010, is set for July 19-30.  That program is sponsored by the University of Tennessee and Great Smoky Mountains National Park in conjunction with the EBCI THPO. 

RHS students hard at work on the site.

“I am especially committed to seeing these programs succeed this year and in years to come so that Tribal students might be inspired by the long and honorable history of their ancestors,” said Melissa Crisp who serves as the Parks as Classrooms Coordinator for the Great Smoky Mountains Association.  “There are so few Cherokee tribal members in professions related to history and archaeology that Cherokee history is being left to be discovered and written by those of us who honor the history, but do not have it in our blood.” 

Crisp, whose husband Josh is an EBCI tribal member, is an historian by profession and previously taught a Cherokee History class at Robbinsville High School.  Through her involvement, she came in contact with the EBCI THPO which set the process of the program in motion.    

“This active involvement brought our program to the attention of the Tribal Historic Preservation Office and led to an invitation for our students to participate in an archaeological field school in 2007 and 2008,” said Crisp.   “We were unable to secure funding for the program in 2009, but we have once again been blessed with generous grants and can not only offer the opportunity to Tribal students, but can also offer a stipend ($600) to ease the burden of a two-week commitment for those who might otherwise miss this opportunity for need of summer work.”

According to Crisp, the teachers will be assisting with work at a site known as Oconaluftee Fields and the students will be at a known Cherokee site at Smokemont. 

Crisp said the Teachers Workshop is funded by a grant from Parks as Classrooms along with monetary support from Toyota, the Friends of the Smokies, and the Great Smoky Mountains Association.  She related the High School Program is funded by a Federal Challenge grant with matching funds from the Great Smoky Mountains National Park and in-kind donations from the University of Tennessee. 

To apply for this program or for more information, contact Melissa Crisp (865) 436-5076, (828) 735-2429 (cell) or melissacrisp@sevier.org.

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