About 50 newcomers, teachers, coordinators, translators and UNC students participated in the Centennial Village Museum tour. UNC student-researchers have partnered with Greeley high school students from the local refugee communities and will create an online presentation in November.
Tracey Clay (BA-13)
A collaborative project involving the University of Northern Colorado lets college students study anthropology while making a difference in their community.
The "Roots Project" focuses on exploring common ground between the life experience of recent immigrants, or "newcomers," to Weld County and the agricultural heritage of those who came before.
"Greeley's history is a remarkable story of immigration that stretches back more than two centuries and includes newcomers from both Europe and the Americas," said Michael Kimball, UNC associate professor of Anthropology. "More recently, this story has been enriched with more newcomers - immigrants and refugees from Latin American countries like Mexico, Guatemala and El Salvador; African countries like Somalia, Ethiopia, Kenya and Eritrea; and Southeast Asian countries like Thailand and Burma (Myanmar)."
Students in Kimball's applied anthropology class have partnered with Greeley Central and West high school students and their families to discover connections between their past and Greeley's history. Through photos taken by the high school students during a tour of the Centennial Village Museum and interviews with them and their families about their experience, UNC students are learning anthropological perspectives and methods, building cross-cultural bridges and helping the City of Greeley Museums continue to improve their outreach and programming.
"I would venture a guess at this stage of the project that we will find in our interviews ample evidence to support our hypothesis that it is possible to use local heritage to forge connections among newcomers, their stories of survival and immigration, and those of others who came before them; that local heritage is truly for everyone and can help build a sense of place, of belonging and of shared struggle and aspirations," Kimball said.
Results of the project will be presented during UNC's Community Engaged Scholars Symposium on Nov. 12 and also will be posted online. Details at www.unco.edu/hsl/ess.html
Among those working on the project are: UNC Anthropology faculty, students and graduates; the City of Greeley; Centennial Village Museum; the Global Refugee Center in Greeley; Greeley West and Greeley Central high school teachers, students and their families; and Greeley-Evans School District 6.
Slideshow (click arrows on photos to advance or go back)