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Field School Gives Students a Unique View of Other Culture

William Meadows

Want to truly walk a mile in someone else’s shoes? Try an ethnographic field school. It’s an immersive experience where you live within another culture.

Dr. William Meadows, professor of anthropology and Native American studies at Missouri State University, leads a 6-week experience for his students, living with a Kiowa family. He also integrates them with members of the Plains Apache and Camanche tribes as well. He tells a bit about the experience.

These southern Plains tribes share a reservation. Meadows explains it as a checkerboard of parcels of land. You might not even know you were on one unless you could visibly see a cultural relic. But the reservation remains a separate entity in terms of legal jurisdiction.

He explains that while you might expect teepees to be a thing of the past, they still hold a place in the society for cultural festivals and events.

For the students, staying in one is a step toward understanding the rich ties to history and tradition that exist in Native American cultures. And as they stay, the students dive deep into their research focus, but end up learning many intangible skills as well.

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