Immersion Experience

Native American Immersion Learning Experience – Rosebud Sioux Reservation Rosebud, South Dakota
July 12-18, 2014, 2 hours credit (Pass/Fail) Adjunct Professor: Richard Twiss
A Partnership between Sioux Falls Seminary, North American Institute for Indigenous Theological Studies and Wiconi International.
Contact Richard Twiss 360-546-1867 or
Dr. Jay Moon 605-336-6588.
Welcome: There are certain aspects of ourselves, culture, and faith that we can only learn by deeply engaging ourselves in another culture. I hope that this short immersion experience will expose and challenge you to wider aspects of Creator and Creation.
Course Description: A one week trip participating in an intercultural, cross-cultural experience. The location is the Rosebud, Lakota/Sioux Reservation, in South Dakota. This particular course will serve, in effect, as a case study in how “not’ to live out one's faith in a cross-cultural context. As an immersion experience you will learn from various speakers, interact with community members and participate in some traditional ceremonies.
Course Objectives: My goal is to expose students to aspects of culture, religion and faith that they normally are not exposed to in order to sensitize them to the issues, needs, and opportunities for living out ones faith in Jesus in the midst of “otherness.” One of the major benefits of a short cross-cultural experience is the opportunity to recognize ones own cultural ways, biases and prejudices more clearly as they closely observe those of another. This unique experience will challenge and assist participants to discover Creator’s work in all cultures. The following objectives strive to reach this goal:
1. Encounter another culture and begin engaging yourselves with others in that culture. In the process, we learn to love one another as ourselves.
2. Gain a better grasp of the dynamic of clashing worldview assumptions in the process of cross-cultural communications.
3. By learning some mission’s history among the tribes of North America, a person will gain a greater understanding of the larger context of intercultural ministry and global missions.
4. Help prepare and be a part of a team to be stretched, molded, and used by the Creator in your own as well as another culture.
5. Begin to understand and practice some basic principles of intercultural relationships, holistic/integral discipleship, critical contextualization and cultural adjustment.
6. Understand opportunities for future involvement in intercultural service such as prayer, research, funding, community development & encouraging.
7. Begin to understand what neo-colonialism is, some of the root issues, and some of the possible Jesus-honoring responses.
Course Requirements

Mentoring: Identify a “mentor” that will agree to serve you as sounding board for this experience. This person should be mature, and be available to listen to your story and offer any feedback in the way of prayer, reflection or encouragement that you might wish or need. They could be an aunt or uncle, parent, pastor, professor, older student, or anyone of your choosing. You are a part of a wider community and you represent them when you step out of your own culture and visit another.
Class: Attend all scheduled gathering times. Participate in all lectures, events, ceremonies, community participation and other activities scheduled.
On-Site: Attend the trip with a learner’s attitude, and be willing to serve in whatever capacity is needed. Continue to see yourself as a team member that represents a larger community; therefore, cooperate and encourage the team. Be open and flexible to participate in new cultural experiences. While some physical work will be involved, focus on relationships both within the team and within the host community that you are visiting, as well as deepen your relationship with Creator.
Journal: Spend time each day in quiet reflection, Bible reading, and prayer. Each day, record your thoughts, feelings, and concerns during the trip. The journal may be a safe place to relieve frustration, express yourself, or reflect on what you are experiencing. You will show this to me but I will not read it unless you request me to do so.
Reading: The reading requirements are meant to help discuss issues that are pertinent for your particular trip. While you are not required to submit a reading report, you will submit a form indicating that you have read all of the material. We will refer to this reading in the class so that you will know what areas to concentrate on. In addition, we will watch portions of several video/DVD’s. The required reading is: ”Black Elk,’ by Damian Costello, “Spotted Tails Folk,” George Hyde and “One Church, Many Tribes,” by Richard Twiss. If you have a particular book that you would like to use to replace one of these, please contact the professor ahead of time for approval.
Final Presentation: You will be required to write a 10 page (double space) report that incorporates your readings, observations, experiences and participation in the various activities. In the paper I am asking you to describe succinctly what you did, your feelings on the trip, what you learned about yourself/others/culture/God, and how this has impacted your life. Also include suggestions for others who may be considering a similar trip in the future, along with your advice concerning whether others should try a similar experience. Look for creative opportunities to share this experience with others. In addition to your “mentor” it may be with your own church, youth group, SFS chapel, classroom, SFS community meal, etc.
I would encourage you to present this as a group. You now become an advocate for justice, the need for biblically and culturally “informed” cross-cultural communication and mission.
Proposed Schedule:
Arrive at Christian Life Church building (next to Sinte Gleska University Student Center) in the community of Antelope (Mission) July 16 by 12:00 for lunch. We will depart from the same location at 12:00 on Friday the 20th. Class discussions will be held at various locations. There will be visits to important historical, cultural and religious sites. For those interested, you can arrive on Saturday the 14th in order to attend a local area Sunday morning service.
There will be no charge for those who choose to simply attend and audit the class. For those requiring food and lodging, the cost is $350.00. This pays for dorm style housing and all meals for the five days. 
For those enrolling in the class for college credit, you must enroll through Sioux Falls Seminary; Email,; Phone, 1-800-440-6227,  or  605-336-6588.
Required Reading:
Costello, Damien. (2005). Black Elk: Colonialism and Lakota Catholicism. Maryknoll, N.Y., Orbis Books.
Hyde, George E. (1999) Spotted Tail's Folk: A History of the Brule Sioux (Civilization of the American Indian). University of Oklahoma Press
Twiss, Richard (2000). One Church, Many Tribes. Ventura, Calif., Regal Books.
Strongly Suggested:
Storti, Craig. (1998). Figuring Foreigners Out: A Practical Guide. Yarmouth, ME,  Intercultural Press.

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