August 1, 2013

From campfire to outer space

From campfire to outer space
Culture and science camp combines tradition and exploration
By Jerry W. Kram

Young members of the Mandan, Hidatsa and Arikara Nation have a foot in two worlds. One world is that of their elders and the traditions and beliefs that have been handed down the generations since time immemorial. The other world is one of smartphones and computers that make it possible to create communities that span the globe and explore the far reaches of the solar system.
These two disparate worlds were brought together at the Earth Lodge Village near Four Bears as the Fort Berthold Community College sponsored the 2013 Culture Science Camp. This is the fourth year the Science Department and the Native American Studies departments have combined to hold the week long camp.
Crystal Hallam was the camp supervisor for this year’s camp. The week is a mix of activities designed to pique campers interest in STEM – science, technology, engineering and math – as well as passing on the beliefs, traditions, and practices of the Three Affiliated Tribes.
“We have lots of strands going on,” Hallam said. “One would be agriculture. Another would be cultural. We have two science classes and a beading class. We are integrating science and culture for the young teenagers.”
The camp is for high school age students, Hallam said. Forty teens attended the camp from New Town, Four Bears, Mandaree and Parshall. They get to experience traditional activities such as sleeping in the earth lodges, playing traditional sports and games such as double ball and hand games while doing science projects which included rocketry this year.

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