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(Many Paths)
An Online Newsletter Celebrating Native America
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Traditional Culture And Academics Mix At Young Scholars Camp
by Shaida Tabrizi - The Cheyenne and Arapaho Tribal Tribune Reporter
Cheyenne Chief Gordon Yellowman and Culture & Heritage Project Manager Greg Spotted Bird teach the young scholars how to build a tipi from the ground up, weaving in life lessons along the way. (photo by Shaida Tabriz)

It takes a tribe to raise a child.

According to the National Congress of American Indians, about 32 percent of the Native American population is under 18 years old. That means there are over 90,000 tribal youth scattered throughout the nation battling the everyday challenges of life as well as statistics of high suicide rates and increased health risks.

In their efforts to care for this growing number of Native youth, the Cheyenne & Arapaho tribes Department of Education has reached out to students throughout the tribal area, most recently in its Young Scholars Program.

Ten students from Seiling, Canton, Watonga, Geary, El Reno and Mustang in the transitional period of eighth to ninth grade were selected to be part of the program. After a rigorous application and selection process, the kids moved into dorms at the Southwestern Oklahoma State University (SWOSU) for two weeks at the end of July 2015 where they took math and PSAT prep classes, forged new friendships in recreational activities and learned more about the C&A tribal programs available to them.

"We're just nurturing our next generation of leaders," Former Director of Education Funston Whiteman said. We're going to follow them all the way through high school and we're going to bring them back in the summers to do
leadership training, leadership development. In their junior and senior years, the goal is to get them in the rigorous

Education Specialists James Bates Jr. and Diedre Flurry served as mentors for the group while instructors Laura
Sessions and Timothy Yeahquo took care of the academic part of the camp.

"It's going surprisingly well with the students. I say surprisingly well because it is an academic camp," Flurry said.
"They have the option of staying home, playing video games, going to sports camps or just working, so the feedback
has been really great. They don't complain, they have a good time; they work together. They are just really a bright bunch."

On Wednesday, July 22, the young scholars took the trip from SWOSU to Concho as a way to interweave cultural
lessons with their math class. Cheyenne Chief and Acting Executive Director of Education Gordon Yellowman taught
the kids about traditional ways with the practical application of building a tipi. Culture and Heritage Project Manager
Greg SpottedBird assisted, explaining ways to apply the experience to their lives, for instance in avoiding the complications of tying knots.

"It was very successful. They did a really good job in paying attention and the success is them working as a team,"
Yellowman said. "You respect these objects and in turn they're going to respect you and fall into place. And that's
what we do as instructors, as parents, grandparents; we guide them through their life. Life is a learning process. If they take away one thing from this experience it's going to enhance their life."

The young teens took the instruction seriously, answering Yeahquo's questions about formulating dimensions and being careful to honor the sacred traditions of tipi building.

"I really enjoyed it, it means a lot to me what the tribes are trying to do for us," Seiling student Marlo Elk Shoulder
said. "They're trying to make us go to our goals and what we're trying to do in life. After college I'm going to try to
push myself to get a career."

Tribal programs reached out to the camp to help them establish an open relationship and keep the channels of
communication open. C&A tribes' Executive Office provided iPads to each student to help them keep in contact
through email as they return to their homes spread throughout the territory.

Watonga student Ashley Blackbear expressed her goal of graduating valedictorian from her high school and hoped the camp would help her reach that aim.

"It's been really fun, I've enjoyed it," Blackbear said. "The math and then the writing will probably help me and
becoming more sociable with other people too."

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