Indian Education Summer Camp
July 2009
Powers, Oregon

Indian Education Summer Camp Activity

       The 2009 Summer Camp turned out great! We had no real problems; we had nice weather and plenty of fun activities.

This year, unfortunately, many programs did not have enough funds to send kids to camp. We missed Florence, Bandon, Powers and North Bend at camp this year. However, we did have several kids from the Coos, Lower, Umpqua and Siuslaw tribes who attended this year. They were a great group of kids.

Patti returned as our cook once again. She made meals that everyone enjoyed. A lot of the campers often returned for seconds and thirds! It is always amazing how Patti can cook all the meals outdoors on a 3-burner propane stove and have the food taste so good. Thank you for all your hard work, Patti.

Doug Barrett from the Confederated tribes of Coos, Lower Umpqua and Siuslaw joined us again. He taught arrowhead making and showed the campers how to make tule ducks. Doug always brings good energy to camp and he keeps the kids involved and focused on what they are learning. He shares much of his tribal knowledge when he works with the kids. That is something that is necessary for the kids to learn about all cultures in the area they live in.

Jhanna Fry was our craft person again this year and she was able to get enough supplies so that every girl could make a shawl. She explained about the shawl traditions and the expectations of taking care of that part of the regalia. We haven’t done shawls at camp for years and years. The girls worked hard and each one finished their shawl for Pow Wow day. It was so rewarding to see them all dance with the shawls.
making dance bells

Each boy made a set of dance bells. This was a very challenging art activity since the bells had to be fastened a certain way. But there was little complaining about how “hard” it was because the boys seemed to know that in the end, they would be able to wear the bells for Pow Wow. All the campers also made chokers and single strand necklaces. They also made a giveaway item that was passed on to a friend or relative during the dances.

Kyle St Clair was in charge of games again this year and helped out wherever needed. He kept the kids going with free time activities and plenty of football skirmishes.

Kent Bushnell returned again this year as our all-round adult counselor. We could always count on Kent to be there when he was needed. His enthusiasm is always welcome and he kept us….. and the campers…. entertained with his sense of humor.

Eden Ferrell was able to help out in almost all the activities. She is a drummer and singer and also a craft person. She taught Lummi sticks and also helped the girls with dance. She is always an excellent all-round person to have on staff.

Ed Ehret was our drum instructor and he showed the kids traditional drumming, singing and dancing. Ed has been a drummer, singer and dancer for many years and he was able to pass this knowledge to the kids in a practical manner. He involved the campers first-hand in the drum activities so that they felt comfortable around the drum.

I am so thankful that I can depend on the adult counselors to step up to their duties without complaint. They all work together well and have the best interests of the camp at heart. All of our adult counselors did an excellent job. A big thanks to all!

Our veteran youth counselors were Doug, Karissa and Kalah. Howie had to leave after the first day so we chose Stephen Davis, a high school camper, who did a fine job for us. Chantell, Joe, Jay and Korri were our new counselors. All the counselors did a great job in guiding the campers. They were responsible to have their campers up and ready to go by 8:00am, leading them through activities and getting them to bed and asleep by 10:00. I am very proud of all of them for the work they did this summer. I would certainly hire them again if they were to apply next year.
salmon bake

Esther Stutzman, aka Nana, volunteered as resident elder and helped us throughout camp with anything that was asked. She brought her tipi and showed the kids tipi etiquette and let them go inside to see what it looked like. They were amazed as to how large the tipi was. She also kept the kids entertained by telling them stories every night during campfire. Thanks Nana!

Again this year, we believe we met our goal of extending the learning of Indian children. Our curriculum activities addressed many of the common curriculum goals that are used in schools statewide. We plan our activities based on the necessary Oregon standards and benchmarks, while at the same time, making those activities culturally-relevant.

Hopefully next year we will be able to move to the new camp site. It is at Quosatana Creek on the Rogue River. The use of the land is being donated by a member of the Meservey family, descendants of the Rogue River people. Our goal is to do some fundraising this year so that we can have the equipment we need to have a fully-functional camp next year.

I also hope that each of the Indian Ed programs will have enough funds to send all native kids to camp next year. I would encourage all the programs to do some kind of fundraising so that the kids will not have to miss another year of camp.

So many people helped to make camp possible this year.

  • Thank you, Nana, for allowing the counselor training to take place at your house.

  • Powers County Park is a great place and the park crew is easy to work with.

  • I would like to thank the Confederated Tribes of the Coos, Umpqua and Siuslaw for donating salmon for our feast.

  • We had large and small financial donations from many people in Coos and Douglas Counties.

  • Many thanks to the North Bend, Yoncalla and Myrtle Point Indian Ed Programs for the donation of crafts and other supplies.

  • And most of all, thanks to Jim Thornton for believing in the future of Indian Education and providing much needed support to make camp a reality for our youth.

- Shannin Stutzman, Summer Camp Director 2009

2009 Indian Education Summer Camp


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