2015 Earth Connections Camp

One by one the students and their instructors shared their thoughts of the day’s activities during circle time.

Circle time during the 2015 Earth Connection Camp.

Circle time during the 2015 Earth Connection Camp.

“I like learning about my culture and being outside in nature,” said Calora Norton, an 11th grader at Lehi High School. “I liked learning about what people here do for their jobs.”

Dominic Goodman, a senior at West Jordan High School liked that his generation heard from elders about the importance of education and why they need to learn about traditions and culture. “It is all entangled with who we are,” he said.

The Utah State office of Education Title VII program in collaboration with the Bureau of Land Management Utah, the Urban Indian Center and the Red Butte Garden hosted the third annual of the “Bridging Cultures, Connecting Worlds” Earth Connections Camp this month.

The day-camp for urban American Indian youth aims to reconnect students with their cultural heritage by participating in a variety of activities lead my American Indian educators.

A total of 36 students attended the camp held at Red Butte Garden. Campers were split into two groups and rotated between learning stations that included: constructing dams, painting rock art, learning about hydrology and engineering, language, history, traditional music, song, and dances.

“I’m honored to be here today with you guys. Hopefully you learned something about your native culture,” said Virgil Johnson, an instructor attending the camp for the second time. He told students that like the instructors, they too can become successful as engineers, teachers, coaches and leaders in their communities. “That’s what we are trying to have you guys learn, your native culture and how to be successful in a diverse world, outside of the native culture. You have to learn how to walk both roads.”

Daniel Picard, Bureau of Reclamation deputy regional director and Oglala Sioux and Nez Perce descendant was invited to talk to students as the keynote speaker.

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