Learning Through Listening: Native American Issues in Rural Oregon Communities



From March 26-31st, seventeen students took a non-traditional action research approach to understanding about sustainable rural development in America. Students lived in  Burns Oregon for five days and interacted with the Paiute native population, the related community stakeholders and investigated the issues that both bind and separate them. By carefully listening to and interacting with different rural community stakeholders including:  tribal leaders, cattle ranchers, school officials, human health and service providers, education professionals, agriculture extension services, law enforcement, corrections services, and the chamber of commerce, the students developed a better understanding of the complex cross-cultural issues that rural Oregon communities today.  

 Course Syllabus:   http://osu.orst.edu/instruct/soc204/plazad/native3/syllabus.htm

Teaching team 2006

Course Teaching team: Dwaine Plaza, Justin Fuller, Kate Sweeney & Kurt Peters

Downtown Burns

The view of downtown Burns Oregon-- Main Street

old buidlings

Beautiful old buildings circa 1890s could be found in downtown Burns

Burns museum and city tour

Students examined the artifacts in the Harney Museum before heading out on a walking city tour.

The students were never sure if the glyphic in the parking lot was authentic Native American art.

Jan Coopernal
The city tour of downtown Burns was led by author and Burns resident Jan Cupernall.

Casino dinners
Each night the students went to the Paiute Casino to have dinner.

ann & lori breakfast
Each morning the students would go to the Apple Peddler for breakfast (Ann & Lori shown here)

alicia mark and jake
Some students were very happy with their meals-- they even sang each morning (Alicia, Jake and Mark shown here)

twyla teeman
Mary & Jake interviewed Twyla Teenman Tribal Health specialist.

Elizabeth & Ron interviewed Tory Gregg the Superintendent of Eastern Oregon Youth Correctional Facility

Beverly Beers
Kent & Alicia interviewed Beverly Beers a tribal education specialist.

Taking notes for stakeholders
Students actively listened and took notes while each stakeholder presented their own perspective.

Pauline Brayman
Mark & Hilary interviewed Pauline Brayman our media stakeholder.

connie Brumback
Daniel and Annabelle take notes while Connie Brumbeck director of the Chamber of Commerce talks.

ruth mayor
Ruth Shultz (mayor) & Pam Mathur (city manager) for Hinds are interviewed by Danielle and Jake.

William burstow
Anne & Brent interviewed William Burstow the Business Development Coordinator for Harney County.

Jim Campbell
Jim Campbell Plant manager at Lousianna Pacific products talks about economic development issues in Hinds & Burns.

Andrew Seebart
Andrew Seebart Sheriff Deputy Harney county discusses with Issiah and Ron policing issues in rural communities.

extension services
Shana Withee & Dave Chamberlain of OSU extension services in Harney county are interviewed by Alicia and Mark.

Jim St Martin
Jim St Martin provided the class with an orientation to the tribe and life in Burns.

Dave Courtney Superintendent of schools Harney county completing his interview with the students.

kurt & elizabeth
Kurt and Elizabeth examine in great detail owl droppings at the Malheur bird refuge

issah looking at birds
Issiah kept a close eye on the wildlife coming into the Malheur bird refuge

dave speeden
Dave Speten, Jason Kesling and Jay Lipe provided a perspective on Tribal Wildlife and Fisheries issues.

girls gone wild
At the Best Western Hotel where we stayed we woke up to the site of a strange set of guests.

The cutest member of the class-- Spanky (unofficially registered) in the supply van.


Allicia Leytem

Kent Bushnell

Anglea Gazeley

Carly Phillips

Mikhelle Gattone

Ron Atay

Loriann Griffing

Jake Mock

Hillarie Champ

Danielle Fournier

Mary Samuel

Elizabeth Harper

Mark Fillmore

Issiah Cook

Ann McLaughlin

Links to previous Ethnic Studies and Sociology Field Classes 1998-2006

Link to the 2004 Environmental Justice Spring Break Class

Link to the 2003 Siletz Spring Break Class

Link to the 2002 Paiute 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