Feather and Stone Exchange benefits both Wake Forest students and Apache community
June 2, 2008
Wake Forest University students, faculty and staff members will visit the Apache Reservation in San Carlos, Ariz., June 1 – 8 as part of a cultural exchange that has connected the two communities for three years.
During the week, students from Wake Forest will help with summer academic and athletic camps on the reservation and conduct a college preparation session for Apache youth, including a visit to a local university. The Wake Forest delegation will learn about the cultural, social and political life of the Apache people, and meet with the San Carlos Apache Tribal Council to discuss issues facing the tribe in education, economic development and health care.
Tim Auman, chaplain at Wake Forest, will join the Feather and Stone delegation for the first time this year. He says he is looking forward to “experiencing firsthand the revival of tribal religion at a time when the central value of Apache life, its land, is under incredible attack from all sides.” He will also look at barriers to a permanent revival of tribal religion, and the relationship between tribal religion and area churches.
Marcus Ingram, a Wake Forest graduate, will make his third trip to the reservation, this year as an advisor. “I find spiritual nurture and renewal when I am there,” he says. “Now when I am sitting in my doctoral classes, or office chair or church pew, I carry a sensitivity to the native voice and experience that is often absent.”
Steve Boyd, professor and chair of the religion department, created the Feather and Stone Exchange as a service learning opportunity for students who might not be able to travel during the academic year. His goals for the program include providing the opportunity for students to experience a very different culture within the United States and encourage identity development, intercultural learning and multi-religious dialogue.
“We learn what it is like to be in someone else’s shoes and seek ways to share resources that are mutually transformative,” Boyd says.