Why Native America? It is important to know about and acknowledge the original people of the land one happens to be on. Many non-Native people lack understanding about the lives of Native Americans today. This lack of knowledge leads the average American to be unaware of both the struggles and successes in these communities. Learning about Native America can enlighten American teens about the history and future possibilities of the United States and its relationship to its first peoples.
The intended goals of this program are for teens to explore ways the United States can build bridges to Native American communities and learn about the following:
- Native Americans are a diverse people, not a monolithic group, that includes over 570 federally recognized tribes.
- Native Americans are still here today.
- Tribal nations across the United States possess tribal sovereignty which means any decisions about the tribes with regard to their property and citizens are made with their participation and consent.
Examples of pre-trip workshops include myths vs. facts, sports mascots, an MFA Boston field trip, lacrosse, cooking and learning about Native cuisines, creating a peer exchange video, reading and discussing Rez Life, political cartoons, famous Native Americans, a discussion about the Massachusetts state flag, a Peabody Essex Museum field trip and a fry bread challenge.
Examples of trip activities include a high ropes course and rock climbing, attending the Oglala Lakota Nation Wicipi Rodeo Fair/Pow Wow, an exchange with youth at the Boys & Girls Club of Rosebud, a visit to Wounded Knee Memorial, hiking, camping, swimming, participating in a drum circle, learning about solar power at the Red Cloud Renewable Energy Center, touring the SuAnne Big Crow Youth Center and stargazing at the Cedar Pass Campground Amphitheater.
The first few days of this trip will be in Colorado (Denver, Fort Collins and Red Feather Lakes) before spending the next 7-10 days in South Dakota on both the Pine Ridge and Rosebud Reservations. The group will visit Crazy Horse Memorial, Mt. Rushmore, the Black Hills National Forest, Badlands National Park, and Wind Cave National Park.