Reconnecting the Circle, a nonprofit organization based in Reston, Virginia, is encouraging students to think about Native American values and how incorporating those values into mainstream culture can help bring balance to everyday life.
Students in grades 9 to 12 are being asked “Why is reconnecting the circle with Native Americans important today?” in this year’s National High School Essay Contest. Reconnecting the Circle will award 10 scholarships—five to Native American students and five to non-Native students—of $2,500 each.
“The Native American students always answer their essay questions with true life stories or experiences, they talk about themselves, their families, their tribes, their cultures,” says Danielle Gaines, president and director of Reconnecting the Circle, in a video discussing the contest.
“The non-Native students, depending on their experience or lack of relationship with Native American cultures will research historical events and try to answer the question as best they can to understand the relationship of Indian country to their own lives,” she continues. “They will compare their own cultures in some cases to Native American cultures and automatically find common ground.”
According to the organization’s website, this is their goal—to encourage everyone to learn about Native American people and cultures, so they can develop a more complete perspective on Indian country.
The contest is open to all high school students from all 50 states; entries are due January 20, 2012. For more information about the contest, visit ReconnectingTheCircle.com.