Honoring the Native American Heritage

May 14, 2024


Written by the Cultural Diversity Committee and edited by Dr. Matt Haley

Recently, a video spread across the US of students seemingly taunting an Omaha tribesman participating in an Indigenous Peoples parade. Soon after, other videos surfaced showing it was another group taunting the Native Americans and even the students. While much of the public discussion understandably focused on assigning blame and discussing the rights we enjoy in the United States, Christian believers are called not to use our liberty for a cloak of maliciousness, but as the servants of God, honoring everyone (2 Peter 2:16-17). In light of this instruction and the relative lack of honor to whom it is owed, the BPC Cultural Diversity Committee felt that this would be an opportunity to recognize the contributions of Native Americans to our culture.

Among the first commands God gave to Adam and Eve was the charge to respect and value His creation. Until recently, much of European and Western culture had lost sight of this command. In contrast with western industrialized culture, Native Americans have maintained a respect for the natural beauty of God’s creation. The conservation movement in the United States, which we often credit to Theodore Roosevelt, owes a great debt to the example shown by Native Americans. Without this example, we might not have our extensive national park system to enjoy. Our national parks have preserved some of America’s greatest natural landmarks while also serving to make them accessible.

When Jesus was asked “who is my neighbor,” he taught that a neighbor is defined by helping someone in need. Native Americans saved many of the early North American colonies. They taught settlers to grow potatoes, corn, squashes, peanuts, and numerous other crops that kept settlers alive and fed European/American economic growth. The United States could not have existed if its settlers had not first survived thanks to the Native Americans they met. According to Benjamin Franklin, even our system of a federal government was modeled after the Iroquois League of Five Nations.

Native Americans have served honorably in our Armed Forces. Currently, 31,000 are serving around the world. In World War I and II, Native Americans notably served as code talkers, using native languages to develop codes for secret communication.

Native Americans are also responsible for much of the art that has defined the American artistic aesthetic. Beadwork, turquoise jewelry, rugs, and wood carvings are embedded into our culture as defining American images. Another defining American image is the dreamcatcher. This symbol has served various purposes throughout its history – from a beautiful decoration to a symbol of Native American identity. The dreamcatcher tells a story of hope and protection that should resonate with the Christian believer. According to Native American legend, the good dreams pass through the center hole to the sleeping person, while the bad dreams are trapped in the web, where they perish in the light of dawn. Christians should be reminded that God protects us even as we sleep. As Psalm 4:8 says, “In peace I will lie down and sleep, for you alone, LORD, make me dwell in safety.”

It is our hope that as controversies inevitably take over the news, Christians will use these opportunities to model the Gospel for the world. It is also our hope that in light of recent controversies involving Native American identity, we would seek to honor the diverse people whose contributions have blessed our country and our lives so greatly.


In celebration of this heritage, all community members are invited to join us on campus for a special dinner on Thursday, February 28, 2019, @ 5:00pm. This dinner will feature a menu inspired by Native American cuisine. In addition, attendees will have the opportunity to explore facts about the cuisine and customs through a variety of displays that will be passed throughout the room. 

Honoring the Native American Heritage - Brewton-Parker College


The purpose of the nursing program is to prepare graduates who have the knowledge and skills to provide patient-centered holistic care that is safe, compassionate, honoring to Christ, and that meets the healthcare needs of diverse populations.

Mission Statement

In concert with Brewton-Parker College’s mission, the School of Nursing is committed to provide nursing education through the application of biblical truth to promote the formation of graduates who engage in evidence-based practice, lifelong learning, and servant leadership through the development of clinical reasoning, professional nursing skills, and Christian values.

Joanna Phillips-Mock

Student Enrichment Director

Joanna Phillips-Mock is a proud third generation Baron, both as a student and a staff member.

Beginning her teaching career in Middle Georgia in 1995, Mrs. Mock worked with a state funded program that served some of the most disadvantaged special needs students within the local school districts. She ultimately moved into leadership positions within the organization, serving and training others in multiple initiatives. She enjoys working with students of all ages to recognize and to achieve their greatest potential.

Mrs. Mock holds a Bachelor’s degree from Brewton-Parker College, a Master's degree in Education with a concentration in Behavior Disorders, and an Education Specialist degree in Educational Administration from Georgia College and State University. She resides in Ailey, Georgia, with her husband Don, their son Tye Lewis, her mother Carol Joyce, and multiple fur babies. She enjoys traveling, gardening, camping, and attending concerts.

Candace Lilford

Profeessional Tutor

Candace Lilford graduated with her bachelor’s degree in Theatre Generalism in 2021 from Anderson University and with her master’s degree in English Literature in 2023 from the University of Alabama. She presently serves as Professional Tutor for the Student Enrichment Center while also teaching sections of ENG 101 and 102. 

As part of her two-year master's program, Ms. Lilford taught sections of ENG 101 and 102, while also serving as teaching assistant for British Literature Survey courses and volunteering in the university’s Writing Center. Ms Lilford has also presented papers at the Hudson Strode Conference and the South Eastern Christian and Literature Conference as well as working on various theatrical productions.

Born in North Carolina of South African descent, Ms. Lilford has lived in Uganda, Botswana, South Africa, and Trinidad before settling in Mount Vernon with her family in 2016, where she attended Brewton-Parker College as a dual enrollment student. She presently resides in Mount Vernon with her family and spends her free time watching old TV shows.

Linda Armstrong

Academic Advising and Career Specialist

Linda Armstrong earned an Associate Degree in Criminal Justice Technology from Southeastern Technical College and a Bachelor of Science degree in Psychology from Walden University. Throughout her career, Linda has worked with diverse populations, including at-risk youth and families and youth in crisis because of mental health and other issues. Her empathetic nature has made her an effective advocate for those in need. In addition to her professional work, Linda is also is committed to volunteerism. She has dedicated countless hours as a youth mentor, and to teaching about her faith at various Christian organizations. She believes in the power of positivity and its ability to transform not only her life but also the lives of others.

"If you must look back, do so forgivingly. If you will look forward, do so prayerfully. But the wisest course would be to be present in the present gratefully." ~ Maya Angelou

Willie Ford

Academic Advising and Career Specialist

Greetings, Baron Nation!

It's truly a joy to be back in a place that has shaped me so profoundly. I'm Willie Ford, a proud 2022 graduate of historic Brewton-Parker College, holding a Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology with a Minor in Education. Following my graduation, I embarked on a journey in education, teaching Special Education within the Vidalia City School District. In addition to my role as an educator, I had the privilege of serving as the Unit Director at the J.D. Rabun Boys and Girls Club. All the while, I was honored to pastor at the esteemed New Hope Baptist Church of Rhine, Georgia. With God's grace, I managed these responsibilities, and now, I'm thrilled and ready to contribute to the welfare of our students, aiming to inspire through service.

Dusty Arnold

Mental Health Counselor

Dusty Arnold  is a Licensed Professional Counselor and a Board Certified Behavior Analyst as well as a BPC alumnus. He has years of experience working with a variety of mental health issues including anxiety, grief, and challenges related to Autism. He specializes in behavior-related interventions that can help college students build on their strengths to set achievable goals while also learning how to deal with the thoughts and feelings that sometimes get in the way. He incorporates Biblical values and evidence-based treatments to meet students wherever they happen to be on their journey to spiritual and psychological health. 

Carl Anthony "Tony" Wardlaw

Assistant Student Enrichment Director & Student Success Coach

Carl Anthony “Tony” Wardlaw – For over 25 years, Dr. Wardlaw has worked in leadership, counseling, and pastoring. Beginning with working in middle management for a manufacturing company in Douglas, GA, Dr. Wardlaw has also worked in the academic, nonprofit, public, and private sectors. Additionally, he served over 7 years in the United States Military as a Military Intelligence Officer before resigning his commission as a Captain in the Army.

Currently serving as the Assistant Director of the Student Enrichment Center, Student Success Coach, and Adjunct Faculty at Brewton-Parker College in Mount Vernon, GA, he also serves as the Pastor of The Green Grove Missionary Baptist Church in Dublin, GA.

As a member of the renowned International Gospel Singing Group, The Wardlaw Brothers, Dr. Wardlaw has traveled all over the nation and abroad ministering and singing the Gospel of Christ Jesus. Dr. Wardlaw has served as a consultant for various agencies and has worked as a Fatherhood Coordinator and G.E.D. instructor within the Technical College System of Georgia and participates in local and national civic and philanthropic work.

Dr. Wardlaw holds a Bachelor of Business Administration degree in International Business from the University of Georgia, two master's degrees from Troy University (Master of Science in Clinical Counseling and Psychology and Master of Education in Counseling), and a Doctorate in Education from Argosy University in Organizational Leadership. Dr. Wardlaw is a Lifetime Silver Member of The NAACP and a member of The Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc. He is happily married to the former Mrs. Stephanie Scott. They have 3 Children; Chambria, Marc, and Carleigh.

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