Friday, November 10, 2006

Northwest Native Tinglit Youth Camp

About 40 Northwest Native Tinglit youth attended this year’s Latseen Leadership Training Camp in Juneau, Alaska. “Our youth are no longer raised in the traditional way,” said Barbara Cadiente-Nelson from the Sealaska Heritage Institute. “This camp focuses on rooting them in place, reconnecting them to who they are in history. It is important to know your past in order to go forward.”

“Latseen” means “strength” in the Northwest Native Tlingit language (for more Native American meanings, check out Native American Names). Camp events focused on strengthening three Rs: rigor, relevance and relationship. Campers began each day with a “freedom dance” at 7 a.m. They also tended to graves at the Native Graveyard on nearby Douglas Island, prepared meat, rendered seal oil, and learned the traditional Northwest Native Tinglit way to cook salmon—wrapped in leaves baked in the ground. “Our scholars envisioned this camp to build up Native youth and train them to be tradition bearers,” said Cadiente-Nelson.

Some comments from the Northwest Native Tinglit youth:

“I’ve felt disconnected since I left. This camp helped me remember who I am, where I come from. It’s something I wish I could have participated in when I was in high school.” Jennifer Hanlon, 21

“We’ve learned a lot from the elders ... how to carve a dagger and how to build a smokehouse. We dissected and smoked fish, and learned how to prepare other traditional foods.” Tiffany LaRue, 15

Each student earned four college credits for attending the camp: one credit in the Northwest Native Tlingit language, one in physical education, and two in Alaska Native American history.

For magnificent art from the northwest, see Northwest Native Art.

1 comment:

Kristy said...

Thank you for your insightful blogs. It is wonderful to know what the youth have experienced at camp. I can imagine how difficult it would be to return to their daily routine after such an experience. Wanted to let you know I am preparing to teach a lesson to my second grade class (which I am student teaching) on Northwest Native Art Symbolism. We will cover form, color, and balance. My hope is that through teh lesson students will be able to identify the meaning and method in Northwest Native Art.I would love We will look at the video from Free Spirit's website and I am using information provided from the e-book as well as other sources
to guide me in providing correct terms and information. Thank you for letting me know about this blog!
Blessings, Kristy