Paiute Tribal Youth Camp
Supporting Native American culture and their voice in public lands is critical to the National Park Service. Camp Kwiyamuntsi (K-camp), helps ensure youth from the Southern Paiute Nation stay connected with their culture and the land. Through an immersive summer camp experience, young tribal members from various bands of the Southern Paiute tribe meet with tribal leaders and land agency partners from the National Park Service, the U.S. Forest Service, and the Bureau of Land Management.
The dual experiences allow them to learn about the natural world and future careers in land management and leadership throughout the day, and at night share stories and practices led by the elders of their tribe.
“A lot of the kids . . . their parents didn‘t grow up learning a lot of their culture and traditions. So when they come to camp, this is their first time hearing a lot of this stuff, and so their spirit is thirsty. It‘s hungry for this kind of knowledge. Coming to these camps, they get a chance to learn a part of their culture, and their history, and their ancestry. They learn they are related to each other . . . they are like a sponge and must soak it all up, and it‘s something that they‘ll always remember. You‘re gaining all this knowledge to pass it on, because one day, all of us are going to be gone and it‘s going to be you teaching the youth. Thirty, forty years from now, maybe you‘ll be sitting back here teaching kids in this circle. You are going to be our Elders one day, and you need to learn everything you can about your history, your culture, your language.“ –Paiute Elder
The Zion Forever Project continues to support this annual tradition connecting young members with their tribe and providing a traditional summer camp experience filled with hikes, rock climbing, and rafting. Gathered around campfires, the camp is an opportunity for some to hear and learn more about the Paiute language as it is used in conversation and traditional songs and stories.
“I feel like that‘s something this camp does; it helps you build your confidence. Before these camps, I wouldn‘t have been able to tell anybody about anything about what my tribe does specifically, but now that I‘ve been here, I do know certain things to where I can make it seem like I‘m informed enough for them to think I‘m native enough in certain things.“ –K-Camp participant
With your gifts, we will continue to support this gathering and its purpose forever.