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The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and Northeastern State University in Tahlequah, Okla., have partnered to create Study Abroad in the Cherokee Nation, a program that allows UNC students to explore contemporary and historical factors that have shaped the Cherokee Nation, according to

The course, spearheaded by UNC American Indian History professor Dr. Theda Perdue, is an immersion program that offers students the opportunity to study aspects of contemporary tribal life. UNC Assistant Professor of American Studies Dr. Tol Foster, of the Muscogee Creek Nation, organized the program’s first foray into the Oklahoma Cherokee Nation.

Twelve UNC students spent 22 days at NSU, which has the nation’s largest enrollment of Native American undergraduates of any public institution, from late May to mid-June. Students interacted firsthand with tribal experts, grassroots leaders, politicians and other community members at NSU, located in the heart of the western Cherokee Nation. They also visited historic sites, participated in traditional games and cultural activities, and were introduced to Cherokee language and oral tradition.

“One-third of UNC’s students choose to study various cultures abroad,” Foster told “We want students to think about cultures of Indian nations in the same way.”

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