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Alternative Spring Break

Pur-Siouan Preservation: Contemporary Native American Issues in Bolton, North Carolina


About The Trip: 

This trip will be a week-long experience serving the Waccamaw Siouan Tribe, one of the eight state-recognized tribal nations in North Carolina. While serving the tribe, we will learn about Pan-Native American culture, while exploring the intricate social justice issues that have arisen for Native Americans in the 21st Century. During the week, we will aid the tribe by: revitalizing residences of the sick and elderly, volunteering with the tribal youth group, and helping to support common tribal spaces. We will learn about the culture of the tribe and of tribes throughout the Southeast, gaining cultural competency about groups that are often misunderstood.

About the Social Justice Issue: 

As a result of suffering long-term bias, discrimination, and displacement, Native Americans face many of the same social and economic issues that affect many minority groups in the United States. These include higher rates of poverty and unemployment and reduced access to quality health care and education.

The U.S. has failed to recompense Native Americans for past injustices, in most cases utterly neglecting Native American populations. The poverty rate for Native Americans is nearly twice that of the total U.S. population. Additionally, the U.S. spends less per capita on Native American health care than on any other group. Native Americans have higher infant mortality, lower-life expectancy, and higher rates of suicide, alcoholism, heart disease, and diabetes than the overall population. Furthermore, funding for schools that serve Native American populations is at an all-time low, and the high school drop-out rate of Native Americans is one of the highest of any minority group.

Because of these issues, Native American youth often must leave behind their tribal lands – which causes difficulties for elders in passing on tribal culture and traditions. Contemporary Native American issues go far beyond territorial dispute – they reflect generations of complex social and economic negligence and alienation. We will learn about these issues through the lens of serving a specific tribe on the micro-level, while also discussing the macro-level issues.

About the Leaders: 

Sarah Perlin is a senior in Emory College of Arts and Sciences, majoring in Sociology and minoring in Ethics while on the pre-med track. She is an Oxford Continuee, and during her time at Oxford, she served on the Honor Council, was president of the Feminism and Women’s Issues Club, was an Americorps Bonner Leader, was a Peer Assistant Leader, and sang in Oxapella. At Emory College, she is in her second year as a Volunteer Emory Staff Member, is an Honor Council Member, works at a non-profit HIV and STI clinic, and is a Community Building and Social Change Fellow. Her goal is to work as a pediatrician and practice community-based and preventative medicine in underserved areas, working to improve health outcomes for low-income and minority populations.

Kamin Bouguyon is a junior in Emory College of Arts and Sciences, majoring in Neuroscience and Behavioral Biology. He has served as the Leadership Chair of Outdoor Emory Organization for the past two years and currently serves as Treasurer of the organization. He is an Eagle Scout and is passionate about Environmental Justice; he has also volunteered with Planned Parenthood in their Teenage Communication Theater to teach teens about life skills and challenges. He is also currently the Shabbat Cooking Committee Chair for Hillel and plays on the Men’s Ultimate Frisbee Team. His goal is to do research and teach neuroscience, to understand and contribute to the knowledge in this field and use his research to help others.

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