A demonstration and pick-up game of traditional Cherokee stickball on the college quad was just one of the events hosted by Mars Hill College as part of its Cherokee Day on Nov. 8.
According to Dr. John Wells, Executive Vice President of Mars Hill College, Cherokee Day was a joint celebration of the relationship that was formalized last February between Mars Hill College and the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians.
“We are grateful for this relationship and the opportunity it provides our students to learn more about the history and the culture of the Cherokee. Mars Hill College anticipates many more such events in the coming years,” Wells said.
In addition to stickball on the quad, demonstrated by members of the ECBI, Mars Hill’s weekly Crossroads chapel service was led by Rev. Jack Russell, Senior Pastor at Living Waters Lutheran Church in Cherokee and a member of the Cherokee Tribe of Oklahoma. Russell’s lecture gave an overview of Cherokee spirituality and considered its effect on the faith of Cherokee Christians.
The celebration also included a reception in the afternoon honoring the first freshman cohort of students to attend Mars Hill College in response to the formal agreement, which calls for a cooperative effort to provide comprehensive scholarship funds for all members of the Tribe who qualify academically and who choose to attend Mars Hill College. The Agreement also calls for the tribe to take an active role in continuing to provide advice and consultation for various historic events and presentations at the college.
According to Wells, events like Cherokee Day ensure an atmosphere of historic authenticity and respect for Cherokee culture. This sense of respect is especially important as Mars Hill College aims be an educational center for comprehensive regional history, and as the college seeks to welcome more Cherokee students into campus life, he said.
Mars Hill College is a private, liberal arts institution offering over 30 baccalaureate degrees and one graduate degree in elementary education. Founded in 1856 by Baptist families of the region, the campus is located just 20 minutes north of Asheville in the mountains of western North Carolina.
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