Through March 14 the Cherokee Nation is accepting education tour grant applications, which are available on a first-come, first-serve basis to eligible schools, according to a nation press release. The grants are being awarded through Cherokee Nation Cultural Tourism to increase the experience and knowledge of Cherokee history and culture for elementary students.
“We have a responsibility to educate children with the broadest range of experiences and the education tour program provides a unique opportunity to do this by sharing Cherokee culture and history,” said Molly Jarvis, vice president of Cultural Tourism at Cherokee Nation Entertainment, in a news release. “Children will experience history firsthand with visits to historic locations and have the opportunity to participate in several Cherokee cultural activities.”
The Cherokee Nation Education Tour Grant Program is in its second year; requirements include that the school be in the tribe’s 14-county jurisdiction, and a majority of the school’s students hold citizenship cards from a federally recognized tribe and are eligible for the free or reduced lunch program.
The tours are available for third through sixth grades and are designed to promote Priority Academic Student Skills (PASS) in various subjects. There are also special tour rates for seventh through 12th grades and college students. There will be 20 education tours in 2011, 15 of those to schools in the Cherokee Nation’s 14-county jurisdiction and the other five will be open to schools outside the jurisdiction.
The program features three tours including the Cherokee History Tour, which visits Tahlequah’s historic Capitol Square, Murrell Home, Cherokee Heritage Center and Ancient Village; Will Rogers History Tour, which visits the Will Rogers Memorial Museum and Dog Iron Ranch; and the Civil War History Tour, which visits Capitol Square, Murrell Home and Fort Gibson Historic Site.
To compliment the tours, Cherokee National Cultural Tourism has created a 70-page teacher’s curriculum guide with historic information, and a student activity book that corresponds to the guide. The activity book is meant to prepare the students for the tour with background information.
“We want to provide an authentic Cherokee experience upon arrival at any cultural site and provide tools that create a learning environment in the classroom that adds value to the tour experience,” Jarvis said. “This approach creates a more impactful educational and experiential environment for students and educators.”