Title

Fargo on fire? : an ethnographic study of the Sudanese Community Fellowship Church of Fargo, North Dakota

Publication Date

1-1-2004

Degree Name

MA in International and Intercultural Management

First Advisor

Jeff Unsicker

Abstract

All across America, small towns are experiencing a culturally shift, a demographic face lift. In contrast to the resettlement priorities pre-1990, small towns are increasingly receiving refugees from all over the world, changing the fabric of life, and the cultural make up of small town life. Although at 79,000, Fargo, North Dakota is not a small town, it is my hometown, a town which never held the diversity or worldliness that it holds now. Nearly 3,500 refugees from over 30 countries have been resettled in Fargo over the past ten years. These refugees have brought with them a richness of cultural diversity, but also a legacy of trauma and brutality. With the estimation that 40% of all refugees have experienced torture, it is realistic to assume that most refugees have suffered trauma, and many others are suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. These people, our new neighbors, face many challenges during resettlement. These issues are only complicated when mental health issues are neglected. Given the fact that most small town don't have the access to resources which would appropriately deal with the severe trauma refugees have experiences, an alternative route to mental health wellness needs to be created. In Fargo one resource to address these issues is the Sudanese Christian Fellowship, a church which exists to satisfy African worship styles and sensibilities. The church offers opportunities for leadership, access to Elders, and a support system that allows people to access mental health care on their terms.

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