2004 Indian Education Summer Camp
Director’s Report by Shannin WilliamsIndian Education camp in  Powers Oregon

Welcome North Bend! The North Bend Indian Education Program joined our camp this year adding to our number of campers and overall good time. Thank you for the food, paper products, and educational materials and craft supplies.

This year was my second time as Camp Director. What a great time we had this year! Our camp was again held in Powers at Lin-a-te-natsun. The weather was a little on the warm side so we drank gallons of water and used a lot of sun block. We did have rain showers a couple nights but we all survived the slight dampness.

Our arts & crafts instructor was Eden who has been with our camp for several years. The campers were able to make chokers, pouches, dream catchers and bead necklaces. James stepped in and showed the campers how to make jewelry out of hemp string. We also allowed the campers to string beads, shells and bone when they were finished with their projects. A lot of beautiful things were made this year!

Nature was a big part of camp this year. Esther (retired director) talked to the kids about recognizing plants and how they were used by Native people. Several native languages and scientific names were accompanied with the plants general name. James and Kent took the campers on hikes and walks after they had a session with Esther. Campers were able to look for the plants, flowers and berries along their walks, seeing them in their natural habitat. During the scavenger hunt the groups were asked a couple of questions about the names of introduced plants.
Indian Camp
The Adult counselors took turns teaching the Lummi Stick Game which comes from the Lummi Nation in Washington State. Partners sit across from each other holding a stick in each hand as they sing and do a routine with the sticks. When a big group did this together the sound was amazing!

Each cabin made a miniature village using only things from nature. They were given only instructions, raffia and two mini baskets made from willow to complete their villages. Many of the villages had sleeping structures, fire pits, pathways and wood piles.
I was very impressed with the detail and hard work that went into building these villages.

The most amazing activity was the drumming and dancing! WOW! I was blown away by the campers and the counselor’s eagerness to learn more. At the High School camp we were drumming and dancing like we did it together all the time. Each HS camper did a lead for a song on their own!! What a great group of future Youth Counselors they were. Our second week of camp for the 4th – 8th graders was also very impressive. The drumming sessions went along very well because everyone wanted to drum and dance. We even had kids asking to drum during their free time! I think that letting the campers and Youth Counselors drum on their own time at their own pace helped them to feel more comfortable in the drum circle. By the end of the week we could have had our own drum and dance team. It makes me feel very good in my heart to know that these kids learned their traditions and want to continue.

Our games were held in the evening because of the hot weather. Again we did the hoop game, kick the stick and other games suggested by campers and counselors. The Indian Olympic Games were very challenging but fun for the entire camp. The campers learned more than five events to practice and participate in. The best thing about these events was that age, sex, strength, height and weight did not matter. On Pow-Wow day we had all the campers and counselors competing for the parents and guests.Kick the Stick

Our Pow-Wow day was very hot but well worth it. The Coos, Lower Umpqua & Siuslaw Indian Tribes donated three huge salmon for our feast. Thanks again! While the Adults were preparing the fish the rest of the camp decided to drum, which was wonderful! Our feast was as always very good thanks to the cooks and everyone who volunteered to help out. The campers really showed off their stuff at the Pow-Wow! Several campers came a long way with their dancing and I am very proud of them for trying. I think our Pow-Wow day impressed the parents and guests; I got many positive comments from people.

Our camp “Medic”, Jeanne, was pretty busy this year. We had a lot of small scrapes and cuts to clean and bandage, sun burns to treat and meds to pass. There were no serious injuries but a large percentage of her patients were youth counselors!

Judy and Mary were back again as our Cooks. We had wonderful meals during these two weeks. Yum! Somehow these ladies cooked food for up to 68 people per meal with only a propane stove, small microwave and toaster oven. Thank you so much, cooks, for all of your hard work and good food.

I had a very outgoing and respectful staff this year. My youth counselors were Ann, Amber, Tierra, Tara, Wren, Two Crows, JD and Jordan. All eight of the counselors seemed to work together well and did their jobs 100%. I was very impressed with the way the counselors connected with their campers and got everyone into the swing of things. The adult staff did an outstanding job! Eden, James, Kent and Jeanne all have had prior camp experience. Kent was a youth counselor for two years and survived his rookie year as an adult this year - great job!

Thank you to Jim Thornton for all of his pencil pushing and hard work to make this camp work again this year. I would also like to thank all of the Indian Education Coordinators for their effort in recruiting counselors and campers. We made cards and had everyone sign them for several other people and businesses that contributed to the success of our 2004 summer camp.

I am looking forward to next year, if you can believe that. I have received a lot of feedback from the camper and counselor evaluations. Every suggestion, idea and comment will be considered when planning for next year; after all, they are the ones who experienced it all. I am very open to any other comments and or suggestions from anyone that was involved in our camp. Thanks to everyone for an outstanding camp, it is a great gift to see the campers learn and grow through the years. I hope everyone has a great school year and continues to remember what they learned at camp.

 

 

Jim Thornton, Indian Education Coordinator, Coos County Indian Education Coordination Program,
90633 Cape Arago Highway, Coos Bay OR 97420-7635