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Northern Cheyenne find common ground with Akron students
A delegation from the Northern Cheyenne Nation is in Akron this week to share their culture and find commonality with Jewish history

Reporter / Host
Jeff St. Clair
A bonfire, drumming, and singing with members of the Northern Cheyenne Nation is open to the public tonight at Firestone Metro Park.
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Tonight, a delegation of students and teachers from Montana’s Northern Cheyenne Reservation are sponsoring a bonfire and drumming at Firestone Metro Park in Akron.

This public event is part of a week of educational activities with students at The Lippman School in Akron.

I sat down to talk about this unique cultural exchange with Lippman teacher Matt Russ and a member of the Northern Cheyenne Nation, Burt Medicine Bull.

LISTEN: Jeff St.Clair talks with Burt Medicine Bull and Matt Russ

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MP3 Download (4:28)

LISTEN: Burt Medicine Bull tells the story of his Cheyenne name

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MP3 Download (4:20)

LISTEN: Burt Medicine Bull tells the early history of the Cheyenne

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MP3 Download (2:56)

(Click image for larger view.)

Matt Russ, left, and Burt Medicine Bull, right, are organizers of the cultural exchange between The Lippman School and the Northern Cheyenne Nation.
A student from the Northern Cheyenn Nation dances at the welcome ceremony this week at The Lippman School in Akron.
Students from the Northern Cheyenne Nation in Montana wear traditional dresses for the Lippman School welcome ceremony.
Dance, singing, and drumming are part of the welcome ceremony for the delegation of Northern Cheyenne students at the Lippman School in Akron.
Introductions and story-telling are part of the cultural exchange this week at the Lippman School.
A Northern Cheyenne student makes fry bread at the Lippman School.
Bread was made and shared this week at the Lippman School in Akron.  WKSU's Vivian Goodman was there to record the event for an upcoming edition of her Quick Bites series.
Members of the Northern Cheyenne Nation have come to Akron for a cultural exchange with the Lippman School.

Burt Medicine Bull is a professor at Chief Dull Knife College in Lame Deer, Montana where he teaches Cheyenne language and arts. He says the Cheyenne and the Jewish people share a history of struggle and persecution. The Northern Cheyenne were forcibly removed to Oklahoma following their defeat at the hands of the U.S. military. They were later returned to their homeland in Montana where around 5,000 tribal members live on the reservation, an additional 5,000 live in other parts of the U.S.  

Medicine Bull says the Cheyenne are survivors, having withstood what he calls a program of genocide by the US government during the late 19th century. Medicine Bull says only about 100 Northern Cheyenne speak Cheyenne as their primary language, and he's concerned that it could fade away altogether. He's encouraged by the revival of the ancient Hebrew language as a model for cultural preservation.  

Lippman School teacher Matt Russ says this week's cultural exchange with the Northern Cheyenne is the third of their visits to Ohio, and he says next spring students from The Lippman school will travel again to Montana for the third time. He says the two cultures share a sense of tribal identity that connects them to traditions and to the land. As part of this visit, students made bread together, sharing traditional Jewish challa bread alongside Cheyenne fry-bread.

Tonight they invite the public to join them for an evening of traditional Cheyenne drumming, dancing, and singing, starting at 7pm at Firestone Metro Park  -  

:Thursday, May 21, 2015
Time: 7:00-8:30 PM
Location: Firestone Metro Park, Tuscarawas Meadows Area  2620 Harrington Rd., Akron 44319

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