Learning from the Elders at Paiute Tribal Youth Camp
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For the last 9 years, Southern Paiute Youth have participated in immersion camps lead by Paiute Tribal Elders and Grandmothers. Supported by the efforts of National Park Service, Bureau of Land Management, Forest Service and Southern Utah University leadership, the Kwiyumuntsi Tribal Youth Camp gives Paiute Elders and Grandmothers an opportunity to instill traditional ways of learning and build a circle of support around their youth. As one Grandmother explained, the Tribal Youth Camp gives her an opportunity to “share what I’ve been taught.”
In 2019, Zion wants to continue the partnership among the Southern Paiute and public land agencies by securing funds for the four-day, three night Kwiyumuntsi camp. Located on public lands with traditional significance to the Southern Paiute, agency leaders and Tribal Elders team-teach lessons on cultural values and current management of public land resources such as water, archeology, plants, animal life, and fire among others. Designed so that Native American youth can learn through place-based immersion, this program blends traditional values with current land management practices. Few other programs exist for Southern Paiute youth to participate in group learning, connect with ancestral homelands, and engage in hands-on learning about traditional values and environmental science. Importantly, this program connects Southern Paiute Elders, agency partners, and Southern Paiute youth as engaged partners in the discourse surrounding past, present, and future preservation of traditional practices and land stewardship.