2005 Indian Education Summer Camp Director’s Report by Shannin Stutzman

Our camp was a great success again this year! The campers and staff both learned a lot during the summer and our Native youth is growing stronger and stronger with tradition every year. This year we had several youth counselors that were once campers and it seems our circle is growing larger with each person who has been involved in our program. It has been approximately 30 years now since we started camp in the 70s, we have seen a lot of wonderful come and go through the years. This year we said good luck to Cindy Crawford who was the Coquille Indian Education Project Director/Tutor for 18 years. Cindy retired as of this summer and those of you who know her understand when I say we lost a very important person in our program. I was never surprised to see Cindy show up to an assembly, pow-wow, activity, meeting and camp (with a couple of campers to join the group). Thank you Cindy for all of your hard work and dedication to our youth!

We all enjoyed the usual activities such as drumming and dancing, traditional arts, nature and games. The Powers Park was kind enough to let us use their sprinkler system to help cool down on the days we did get sun, most of the time we dealt with clouds and mist. Each camper group had to create their own miniature Tribal village; all of them turned out great! All of us enjoyed the Lummi Sticks again this year too. The campers caught on quickly and it was amazing to watch the entire group go through the song/routine together. All of camp was entertained at our skit night; the adults even got some laughs from their act.

At the High School camp we made jerky over the fire and everyone helped out and worked together well. The jerky was served for snack that night. We also had a dance night for the high school campers and the “Movie Star” adult counselors! The boys and girls had to also create a cabin identity along with a poster. The boys (a.k.a. “Dances with Spiderman”) were very creative with their poster. The ladies on the other hand shined in their skit about the life of the eagle.

I would like to thank the Confederated Tribes of the Coos, Lower Umpqua and Siuslaw for their donation of three salmon for our dinner on pow-wow night. We all worked together to cook the salmon over a fire pit on cedar steaks in a traditional style.

Eden was once again the craft lady (Shannin is not the craft lady!). The campers enjoyed making sand paintings, shell necklaces, bracelets and stringing beads during free time. Kent did our nature hikes this year, as well as doing a wonderful job keeping the camp entertained. Thanks Kent. I doubled as the camp medic this year and thankfully there were no serious injuries. As always, Esther “Nana” Stutzman visited often and shared her stories at campfire. Nana also did some of our nature talks where the campers were taught how to identify plants, the Chinook words for several plants and the many traditional uses of them. We were all definitely fed well by our wonderful cooks, Mary and Judy. I respect anyone who can cook for 50+ people with a camp stove and a barbeque. Much thanks to Brandon and family who visited our camp and helped out in the kitchen.

We had three returning youth counselors: Tierra, Two Crows and Kitty – this was also their last year as youth counselors. The rookies this year were Thomas, Tim and Guy for the boys and Marie and Jessica for the girls. The youth counselors did a great job and it was hard work; camp would not happen without them. Thank you all so much! Hope to see you again next year.

I am already working on a new camp for next year – one with a kitchen and cabins. At this time I am also working with several people to grant funds for some of our costs for next year. I hope everyone learned something and had a great time at camp. I’m looking forward to 2006 and our 30th annual Summer Camp!


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