BROOKINGS, S.D. — When Sinte Gleska University of Mission hosted six unique Tiwahe Glu Kini Pi ” Bringing the Family Back to Life” Equine camps this summer, SDSU Extension 4-H Programming was there to help.
“Youth not only learned about the healing that comes with their spirit connection to horses but they also learned more about their language and culture and the Lakota’s connection to the universe through the story telling of Duane Hollow Horn Bear and Fred Little Bald Eagle,” said Ron Frederick, SDSU Extension 4-H Youth Program Advisor – Rosebud.
The 75 youth who attended Bringing the Family Back to Life Equine Camps were provided with positive cultural experiences and instruction in Lakota youth values. The six camps included; Horse Handler Training Camp, two Horse/STEM Camps, Male Survivors of Violence Horse Camp, Girls Horse Camp and Boys Horse Camp.
“The horse is a crucial part of Native American culture, dating back to the early 1700s. They are also an animal who youth can feel a connection with because they actually pick the youth they want to connect with – like a spirit connection,” explained Frederick. “A horse is a living thing that gives them unconditional love and acceptance. They provide a great teaching tool and opportunity to instruct youth on Lakota values like respect, wisdom, humility, generosity, healthy relationships and family relations which were promoted through programming.”
Along with Hollow Horn Bear and Little Bald Eagle other instructors included: Sam High Crane, Greg Grey Cloud and Aldo ‘Bear” Seoana, Camp Coordinators; Dave Valandra, Sinte Gleska University Ranch Manager and Marlies White Hat Sinte Gleska University/Tiwahe Glu Kini Pi Program Director. Therapists Kelsey Soles, Tonya Boyd and Cory Lemmert and Sinte Gleska University STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) instructors Dana Gehring, Mikel Bordeaux, and Vanessa Wandersee. White Buffalo Calf Woman Society Advocates also provided transportation and “Expect Respect” sessions.
With a focus on instilling strong values, healing and equine education, campers received a variety of hands-on opportunities. Newly trained Horse Handlers were given an opportunity for part-time employment to assist Tiwahe Glu Kini Pi therapists with Equine Assisted Mental Health and also with Tiwahe Glu Kini Pi Sunkawakan (Horse) Youth Camps over the summer.
Horse Handlers were given an opportunity to engage with equine healthcare professionals assisting a volunteer veterinarian and farrier as they cared for camp horses.
Campers also received training from Frederick and Genna Buettner, a Rosebud-Todd County 4-H Leader and Volunteer in horse safety, nutrition, anatomy, horse health, first aid and proper use of tack.
Campers learned about Mitakuye Oyasin and the healing gifts and special relationship of the Sunkawakan Oyate (Horse Nation) with the Lakota from Sam High Crane. Greg Grey Cloud provided campers with instruction on values as he guided youth through the set-up of the Tipestola.
Each week-long camp concluded with a trail ride to Turtle Creek and a cookout where youth had the opportunity to share what they learned with their family and to showcase their newly acquired riding skills.
STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering & Math)
Sinte Gleska University Tiwahe Glu Kini Pi Ranch Youth Equine Camps partnered with the Sinte Gleska University Science Department to provide sessions focused on STEM topics and research.
“Horses are a unique and fun way to connect youth to science, technology, engineering and math concepts,” Frederick said.
He added that youth also took part in Native American art projects focused on making ribbon skirts ,painting their stories on wood carved horse effigies and whittling and painting arrows and making hoops for a traditional game.
For more information about the Sinte Gleska University Tiwahe Glu Kini Pi Bringing the Family Back to Life Equine camps, contact Marlies White Hat at (605) 856-8203 or at firstname.lastname@example.org
Sinte Gleska University Tiwahe Glu Kini Pi is a Children’ Mental Health Center that offers Equine Assisted Mental Health Groups during the school year. Summer camps were open to any youth to share and restore the healing gifts of the Sunkawakan Oyate with the community.
Tiwahe Glu Kini Pi is grateful to the RST Tribal Land Enterprise for funding Horse camp expenses.
— SDSU Extension
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