Cross Cultural Issues In Native America:
Learning Through Listening

Spring Break 2002 Ethnic Studies/Sociology Field Course

During spring break 2002 (March 24 -28th) twenty-three Oregon State University students took a non-traditional action research approach to learning about cross-cultural issues in Native America. The students spent five days living in Burns Oregon and interacted with the Paiute Native population and related community stakeholders. By carefully listening to and interacting with different stakeholders including: cattle ranchers, school officials, human health and service providers, casino and gaming officials, extension services personnel, and tribal leaders. Students were able by the end of the course to develop a better understanding of the complex cross-cultural issues that face Native American populations in Oregon today.  The following is a record of the students learning experience and web links to other important sites related to Native American issues.

Kurt Peters, Department of Ethnic Studies
(541) 737-0709;

Dwaine Plaza, Department of Sociology
(541) 737-5369;

Course Syllabi

 Course Teaching Team Dwaine Plaza, Kurt Peters & Danette Gillespie

A view of the Butte from where we lived on the Extension Services compound.

It took us about 45 minutes each day to drive to Burns from our accomodations in the Butte. This was our view to the main road.

The main industry in Burns is cattle ranching. Along our daily drive into town we saw many four legged friends checking us out.

The van rides into town each day to meet stakeholders were memorable and fun.

Students returned each night to the Butte to process information, cook and develop questions for the next day.

Students also worked together in the afternoons at the Eastern Oregon Extension Services Office to process the information they were hearing about each day.

Entrance sign at the Eastern Oregon Extension Services Office

Marty Vavra (Superintendent Extension Services Burns) being interviewed.

Rev. Eugene Luttman, Linda-- Melissa and Carmen at the Church of the Living Waters.

Bob Zybach presented the social history of cattle ranching in Harney County.

Michael Serrien (Social Services Consultant)  being interviewed by Juanita and Rosa.

Art Tasse (School Principal & Tribe Education Planner) being interviewed by Katie and Jason.

Fred Otley (President of the Cattle Ranchers Association) being interviewed by Lindsay and Melinda.

Students doing small group processing at Riley

Tukwahone direction sign on the Paiute reservation

Tribal Adminstration Center where we met stakeholders

Collecting community history data at the Burns Cemetary are Aaron and Kelly.

We visited the Burns Paiute Casino and spoke with the manager Brian Tate.

Nick and Ryan are collecting information about the Paiute Tribe at the Harney County Musuem.

Students with invited stakeholders at the final dinner hosted by the Pow Wow Club.

Student accomodation at Riley on our final departure

Kurt and Dwaine returned to Burns on April 29, 2002 for a follow up project visit.
They visited the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge where the snow geese
had begun to arrive on their flight north.Unfortunately the students missed this sight.

A Link to Student Web Pages 2002 Spring Break Class

Link to the 2001 Education Spring Break Class

Link to the 2000 Education Spring Break Class

Link to the 1999 Globalization Class

Link to the 1998 Argricultual Labor Class