Narratives of Appalachia: Hands, Faces and Voices

When determining a method of engagement with the community on a basis of inclusivity and sustainability of cultural roots, landscape and values, it is important to first identify who the community is and be clear about aspects of its cultural and ethnic foundation. My presentation will outline the landscape that multiethnic hands, faces and voices can create and the importance of preserving and highlighting these ethnic identities in “AppalachA’ville.” As a teacher of students whose native language is not English, I encourage my students to tell their stories and share their unique experiences. Especially captivating are those stories of students who have journeyed to the United States as unaccompanied minors to seek better opportunities either educationally or through employment. Stories and experiences define who a person is, but most important they empower the teller. In order to define and confirm its place and identity, Appalachia must first acknowledge its stories and speak clearly about the diversity they present. This paper will explore an historic framework for encouraging students to share their stories and understand the diversity of our region which they are now a part of.