My name is Tom Hebert and I was enrolled in the Indigenous Americas program of Carpe Diem Education in the fall of 2013. The experience of living on the reservations and getting a firsthand education on traditional Indigenous cultures and modern issues the tribes are being forced to cope with or to resist is not something one can accurately learn about through a textbook or a classroom. Simply listening to a Native voice and hearing the inflections of pain, anger, and resilience regarding certain topics is enough to give a student the chance to learn about what really matters to numerous peoples who have been forced to fight to protect their way of life for centuries and who remain strong in the face of all hardships which have been cast against them. They are peoples who need allies in their fights and it is through programs such as Indigenous Americas that non-Natives can truly learn how vital allying with the tribes in their conflicts is both for the Indigenous as well as for the country and the world as a whole.
One of the other major benefits of a program like Indigenous Americas is that it thrusts students into environments and lifestyles which they may not be accustomed to. In this way, students learn about themselves and often find that they can achieve much more than they believed possible before departing for the southwest. Personally, my spirituality was enhanced by my experiences on the reservations as was my self-confidence and my understanding of what I am able to accomplish physically. I believe that such realizations benefit anyone and everyone who undergoes them and that Carpe Diem is one of the best sources for unlocking that individual potential which is so often hidden behind masks of doubt and despair. I highly recommend Carpe Diem as a whole and the Indigenous Americas program specifically to anyone who wishes to receive an education which cannot be garnered anywhere else and to anyone who desires to know just how powerful he/she truly is, both mentally and physically.
I’d like to end this review by addressing the often-held belief that in order to explore and see the world in new and different ways, one must travel outside the United States to the far corners of the Earth. Life on the reservations of Arizona and New Mexico is so different from what many mainstream U.S. citizens are accustomed to. The Natives of that region have entirely different understandings, beliefs, and histories than mainstreamers and as such, being an outsider on the reservations allows you the rare chance, especially as a white person, to experience life as a minority in a strange land without need of a passport. And it provides an invaluable lesson on current and historical aspects of the United States which are rarely reported on but which may arguably form the backbone of this nation. Through no medium other than the direct conversations with tribal members which this program allows you to have will most people truly begin to understand the complex and intertwined histories of the U.S. and the hundreds of tribal nations which preceded it. That, I guarantee you.