Youth campers preserve Ute culture

Southern Ute Culture Camp field trips included an expedition to Treasure Falls, outside of Pagosa Springs, Colo. to learn about plant identification and explore nature.
Southern Ute Cultural Education Coordinator, Hanley Frost hanging with the campers.
Jace Carmenoros shaking hands with the Culture Department Director, Edward Box III, before receiving his award for completing the Annual 2017 Southern Ute Culture Camp.
Edward Box III, Culture Department Director, questioning Avery Herrera about his favorite activity from Culture Camp before presenting his award.
Culture Dept. Director, Edward Box III, presenting Kyle Rima his award for completing Culture Camp.
Alicia Rock proudly holding up her certificate for completing the annual Culture Camp.
Southern Ute Cultural Education Coordinator, Hanley Frost gives a demonstration on setting up traditional Ute structures, such as shade houses and wickiups.
Adding brush on the shade on the shade house, Alicia Rock
Participants in this year’s Culture Camp spent some time fishing at Lake Capote.
Exploring Treasure Falls with the Southern Ute Culture Camp.
Councilman Tyson Thompson greets the participants of the Southern Ute Culture Camp, Trajan Garcia, Kyle Rima, and Adrienne Cuch.
This year’s Culture Camp youth and Culture Department staff take a moment for a photo with Councilwoman Amy Barry before the group headed back out to fish at Lake Capote.
Jace Carmeneros, Richard Joseph, Trajan Garcia, and Ezekiel Howell cool off after making frybread to take home to their families. Councilman Kevin Frost and Cultural Education Coordinator Hanley Frost talk in the background on the successes of this year’s Culture Camp.
Culture Department staff and Southern Ute Tribal Councilmen Kevin Frost and Adam Red pose with the Culture Camp participants as they show off their coolers filled with frybread.
The Culture Camp youth and Culture Department staff come together for a photo with Councilman Tyson Thompson.
Kree Lopez | SU Culture Dept.
Allisianna Baker | SU Drum YEP employee
Allisianna Baker | SU Drum YEP employee
Allisianna Baker | SU Drum YEP employee
Allisianna Baker | SU Drum YEP employee
Allisianna Baker | SU Drum YEP employee
Kree Lopez | SU Culture Dept.
Kree Lopez | SU Culture Dept.
Kree Lopez | SU Culture Dept.
Kree Lopez | SU Culture Dept.
Lindsay Box | SU Tribal Council Affairs
Lindsay Box | SU Tribal Council Affairs
Lindsay Box | SU Tribal Council Affairs
Lindsay Box | SU Tribal Council Affairs
Lindsay Box | SU Tribal Council Affairs

The culture of the Southern Ute Tribe is very important and needs to be kept alive. In this day and age keeping any culture alive is challenging, but maybe within a few years the tables will start turning for the Southern Ute Tribe. The Southern Ute Culture Department has been hosting an annual Culture Camp for the past four years, first held in 2013, the youth camp encourages participants to learn more about their culture.

The four-day retreat at the Southern Ute Youth Camp at Lake Capote, took place June 19-22 and included a mixture of hands-on cultural activities, lessons, and short field trips, and some all around summer fun. This year’s culture camp involved ten kids between the ages of six to seventeen. The field trips included an adventure to Treasure Falls, outside of Pagosa Springs, Colo. to learn about plant identification, while also exploring the trails leading up to to the waterfall. They also had the chance to go swimming at the Pagosa Hot Springs, an opportunity to soak and relax.

The kids were taken to Lake Capote for fishing, which a lot of the participant’s enjoyed. When taken on the trips, the kids learned a lot about the importance of water in the Southern Ute culture. The kids were taken to the Rocky Mountain Wildlife Park to explore the animals, and venture into the park. The children also got the opportunity to howl with the coyotes. The following day the Wildlife Department made an appearance to give the Culture Camp participants a wildlife presentation.

Some cultural activities included teaching the boys how to build a shade house using brush, and a wickiup with Cultural Education Coordinator Hanley Frost by their side. A drum making project was participated in by the boys. The girls and boys were also taught how to make traditional frybread.

The Ute language was practiced by everyone at the camp through the use of Ute flashcards. Every day of Culture Camp the kids were asked to say Ute words and proceeded to learn more about the Ute language.

“This encourages kids not to be afraid to ask about Ute words, that’s what culture camp is all about,” Frost said, during the award ceremony on the last day of camp. The goal of the camp is to teach Ute children their culture and how to preserve it for the future. Currently the Culture Department is thinking of expanding their ideas for future camps.

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