Domestic SST Unit Explores Native American Culture

On June 15, 2021, 18 GC students left for six weeks in Arizona where they are visiting Navajo and Hopi communities. While this group won’t need to fumble with a new language or unfamiliar currency, their SST experience is in some ways more challenging than going abroad: it requires facing our own country’s history of racial discrimination.

In one way, COVID-19 has provided these students with an edge. In order to schedule travel late enough to allow time for vaccinations, SSTers took their first two courses at Goshen College and online. They arrived in Arizona having already completed a course on Native American cultures with sociologist David Lind and a global issues course on Indigenous rights with Sarah Augustine, a Native American scholar from Washington State.

Augustine is a founder of the Dismantling the Doctrine of Discovery Coalition and the executive director of the Dispute Resolution Center of Yakima and Kittitas Counties. She is the author of a new book, The Land is Not Empty: Following Jesus in Dismantling the Doctrine of Discovery. 

Students are spending six weeks in Arizona, exploring the Navajo and Hopi cultures. During their time on the Navajo Nation, they are staying at the Black Mountain Mennonite Church in Chinle, Ariz., where they were welcomed with Navajo tacos. Their service experience will take place at Peace Academic Center, a school for Hopi children in Kykotsmovi, Ariz.