Fri Jul 7th, 2017
Allisianna Baker | SU Drum YEP employee
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.