Native American Culture Day Brought the Past to Life

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Students celebrated their ancestry with a Native American Culture Day.

We looked at the reason celebrations like this are so important for young Native Americans.

The culture day started off by students watching how a teepee is put together.

Shoshone Language Instructor Arlen Shoyo commented, “The erection of the teepee this morning they witnessed that and that’s how they used to do that like I said the lady folks used to do that but now the men do that. So we want them to learn exactly how we used to live as nomads, before.”

After teepee construction, it was followed by games which have a deep history for both the Shoshone and Arapahoe tribes.

Terry Ebert, Superintendent at School District #21 added, “Tug-of-war, they did teepee races where they race to put up a teepee to see who could get it up the quickest, they did hand-games and ‘shinny’ which is kind of like lacrosse.”

“Learn the cultural aspect of it and that’s why we designate this day so they can learn but at the same time have fun,” said Ebert.

Keeping culture mixed with education isn’t just fun it actually helps reservation students do better in school.

“For the Native America kids if they have a good understanding of where they come from, their culture and an appreciation for that they have better self-esteem and better self-esteem promotes better learning.”

Ebert hopes with the new passing of the Indian Education for All Bill, soon culture days like this will be learning experience for all Wyoming schools.

“This is something we would like to see throughout the state so the kids of the whole state could appreciate and understand the culture of the Wind River Reservation.”

The celebration ended with a pow-wow with all students encouraged to participate.

Friends, families and tribal elders joined the celebration as the culture day was a way for everyone to reflect back on their ancestry.