Description: Working with tribal leaders, the National Park Service through its Youth Partnership Program and the BLM through its Take It Outside Initiative, joined forces to host the first annual Yevingkarere Camp for pre-teen Paiute children.
For a weekend in September, twenty Southern Paiute youth, three elders, and seven chaperones, along with a dozen agency and tribal staff camped under the pines in the shadows of Mt. Trumbull. Children from six Southern Paiute bands; Cedar, Indian Peaks, Kaibab, Kanosh, Koosharem, and Shivwits, including three tribal chairwomen, participated in the camp.
Under the guidance of tribal elders, the three-day, two-night field excursion provided opportunities for Paiute youth to learn traditional skills, cultural values, and tribal customs. For adults, the trip allowed them to reestablish their connections to Monument resources including the spiritually-important Nampaweap petroglyph site. Elders instructed the making of cradleboards, spilt twig willow figurines, bows, and skumpa (rabbit brush) dolls and demonstrated traditional songs, Paiute language, fire starting and cooking techniques. Working together, tribal leaders and agency staff hope to develop the next generation of Paiute leaders and prepare youth for higher education opportunities, potentially in resource management careers.
The National Park Service provided $23,000 in Youth Partnership Program funding for transportation, supplies, equipment and instructors and $4,000 from park base funds to cover NPS staff salary. The Bureau of Land Management, through their Take It Outside Initiative, provided $3,500 toward camp expenses and $3,500 in-kind staff time for planning and camp activities. Southern Paiute bands - Kaibab, Cedar, Indian Peaks, Kanosh, Koosharem, Shivwits - contributed $1,000 toward camp expenses and tribal staff salary.
The BLM Tribal Liaison and NPS Camp Coordinator made initial contacts and arranged for the preliminary and subsequent meetings with 8 Paiute bands. NPS and Kaibab Paiute tribe entered into an Assistance Agreement to transfer funding for camp equipment, supplies and instructional materials.
In preparation for the weekend, the NPS Camp Coordinator and BLM Tribal Liaison organized a pre-camp field trip with tribal elders and adult participants. Agency personnel also hosted a meeting for students, elders, parent and chaperones two weeks prior to the camping trip to introduce youth and their parents to personnel leading the camp, what to expect at the campsite in terms of the environment and facilities, and to begin student relationship-building.
Gloria Bulletts Benson, BLM Arizona Strip District Tribal Liaison and camp co-coordinator was very excited to see the children enthusiastically participate. "Many Southern Paiute tribal youth live with all the modern conveniences and have lost their connections to their heritage. Taking them back outside and giving them a chance to see how life once was for the people of the Arizona Strip, and to interact with tribal elders and other kids from the various bands, is made possible through this camp."
Geographic area covered: Grand Canyon - Parashant National Monument is jointly managed by NPS and BLM. Lands under the administration of both agencies total more than one million acres located in the northwest corner of the "Arizona Strip" - the northern portion of Arizona separated from the rest of the state by Grand Canyon.
List of partners and relationships: Southern Paiute tribes, NPS and Bureau of Land Management
Accomplishments to date: Re-connecting indigenous people to traditional homelands and the personal relationships developed between tribe members, tribal staff and agency staff has been rewarding. These relationships have opened new opportunities for collaboration on projects to protect and interpret Monument resources, incorporating traditional ecological knowledge into Monument management activities.
Paiute children have the opportunity to learn and practice cultural traditions and skills from tribal elders skilled in these practices. These activities are carried out in a place-based setting important to their heritage
Key success factors: Of prime importance is the concept that the camp focuses on Paiute traditions and culture taught by elders. It is not a camp "run" by agency staff, with an agency agenda or Euro-American view of natural and cultural resource management. Agency staff participate by supporting tribal elders and in some cases teach as a team with elders. As a result, tribal chairwomen, elders and staff are highly supportive of future camps and understand that the agencies appreciate the importance of tribal culture and traditional sense of place associated with Monument resources.
Frustrations: Legal issues surrounding the transportation of children prompted concern for the federal agencies. Working with tribal partners in securing appropriate equipment solved the immediate issue. Long-term, the lack of appropriately-equipped vehicles in terms of child safety equipment, as well as vehicles equipped for the rugged conditions is a challenge yet to be fully resolved.
Most important lessons learned to date: Not to schedule activities too tightly, so that elders in teaching skills and practices, as well as the children while learning, have time to express themselves in a relaxed environment.
The pre-camp field trip with tribal elders and adult participants was critical to planning the activities and lessons to be taught, as many indigenous traditions are place-based and some practices are only appropriate under certain conditions, times of year or in specific places. Also the pre-camp meeting for students, elders, parent and chaperones two weeks prior to the camping trip was essential for conveying information about the camp to both parents and students to reduce apprehension, answer questions and begin relationships among the children from different tribes/bands.
What would you do differently next time: A post-camp evaluation meeting was held among tribal chairs, elders and staff and agency personnel to review all aspects of the camp. Several minor issues were identified. These have been considered and remedied through subsequent planning meetings leading to the 2009 Camp. No significant issues were identified that required drastic changes.
Suggested resource materials:
- PMIS Statement #144894: Connect Paiute Indian Youth to Traditional Homelands
- Cooperative Agreement #H8230080202: Institute Program to Engage Kaibab Band of Paiute Indians Tribal Members in Values and Management of Traditional Paiute Lands Now Part of National Monument, Park and Recreation Area System
For more information:
Name: Jeff Bradybaugh
Affiliation: Superintendent, Grand Canyon - Parashant National Monument
Partnership category(ies) (check all that apply)
Fundraising __; Capital Improvements __; Facility Management __; Trails __; Design __; Program Delivery __;
Visitor Services _X_; Tenant Organizations __; Concessioners __; Natural Resources Management/Restoration __;
Cultural Resources _X_; Education/Interpretation _X_; Arts _X_; Information Services __; Transportation __;
Mutual Aid __; Fire Management __; Planning __; Tourism __; Community Relations _X_;
Other __X__ Indigenous cultural traditions
Prepared by: Jeff Bradybaugh Date posted: 5/13/09