By SCOTT MCKIE B.P.
ONE FEATHER STAFF
The Cherokee High School JROTC program has established a partnership program with the University of Tennessee – Chattanooga (UTC). The PFC Charles George Mentorship Program, named after the EBCI tribal member and Medal of Honor winner, is a mentorship program between the two schools that, according to information from CHS, will “reinforce core Army values, understand and reinforce the tenets of the Sacred Path of the Eastern Band of the Cherokee Nation.”
Lt. Col. (Ret.) Kina B. Swayney, working with the Steve Youngdeer American Legion Post 143, SSG Warren Dupree, is one of the leaders and facilitators of the program. “This cultural partnership is intended to expand cultural awareness, provide participants a developmental experience in their specific field of study and an understanding of Native American warrior ethos, past and present.”
She related that UTC cadets will march in the upcoming Cherokee Indian Fair Parade and others will participate in the Chief’s Challenge one-mile race immediately preceding the Parade.
According to information from Lt. Col. Swayney, some of the goals of the program for Cherokee students include:
- Gain familiarity with the history and structure of the military services and understand the tenets of the sacred path
- Understanding the value of culture exchange
- Practical experience in leadership techniques
- Understanding the importance of living drug free and techniques to counter pressure toward substance abuse
- Understanding the importance of high school graduation
- Identifying goals beyond high school
Another program developed out of the partnership is the PFC Charles George Cultural Summer Internship Program whereby UTC cadets, and other interested UTC students, will align with EBCI tribal departments in their area of study for a three-week internship in May 2014.
Maj. Robert E. Ricks III, UTC ROTC program, related that the initial internship will involve anywhere from 16 to 24 students working in teams of two or three. “The end result of this effort is an exchange of cultural awareness and consciousness, along with an understanding of operating philosophies and rationales that benefits both UTC students and the Eastern Band Cherokee community.”
CHS JROTC cadets, along with JV and varsity football players, will travel to UTC on Nov. 9 for Military Recognition Day during the UTC – Wofford football.