Kiowa Tribe of Oklahoma

Carnegie, OK

Mini-Kiowa Culture Camp and Kiowa Language Fair

The Kiowa Tribe seeks to preserve and perpetuate the Kiowa language and culture. Through the Kiowa Museum and the Kiowa Language and Culture Revitalization Program, we strive to provide meaningful opportunities to Tribal youth to learn more about who they are and where they come from. The goals of outreach events such as the mini-culture camp and language fair is to get kids excited and interested in Kiowa-specific activities.

Our Phase 1 grant was used for two events, a mini-culture camp and a Kiowa language fair. Both events focused on elder/youth interaction, hands on experiences, and language and culture.

The Kiowa Museum partnered with the Kiowa Tribe Indian Child Welfare Department to host the Mini-Kiowa Culture Camp. At the camp, the children learned about their culture and gained hands-on experience in creating Kiowa items, including making their own Kiowa games and their own gourds.

The Kiowa Tribe Museum and Kiowa Language and Culture Revitalization Program held the first-ever Kiowa Language Fair in Carnegie, Oklahoma at multiple sites on the Kiowa Complex grounds. The goal of the event was to encourage Kiowa youth to take an active role in learning the Kiowa language.. The grant proved there is an actual interest among Tribal youth in learning about their language and culture. Previously, most Museum events and the Kiowa Language and Culture Revitalization Program Outreach events were targeted to adults. Originally envisioned as a competitive event, the Language Fair became a Kiowa centric event, moving away from the pan-Indian experience of the Native American Youth Language Fair at the University of Oklahoma, which started out as our model. The most unexpected aspect was the number of participants. Over 100 Kiowa youth attended, which was a bigger draw than the University of Oklahoma event for Kiowa students!

The Phase 1 grant helped establish several new partnerships: Indian Child Welfare, Summer Youth, Head Start, and Administration on Aging (AOA) Programs. Those programs donated resources, space, and time. Prior to the Phase 1 grant, the Kiowa Museum did not partner with any other Tribal or Federal program. Volunteers from these programs drove vans to bring children from different towns, assisted guest speakers with their presentations, and acted as group leader. In addition to donating time, several key partners that donated space.

Finally. the Kiowa Tribe recently learned that we were awarded a $376,451 Administration for Native American (ANA) grant! The grant’s purpose is to assist Tribes in bridging the gap between community language projects, and to create a seamless path for language acquisition. One objective of the grant focuses on outreach projects. The Kiowa Language Fair is one outreach project that was mentioned in the grant. The idea for the Fair began with the Cultural Resource Fund proposal. The Language Fair will now be an annual event for our Tribe, and the Mini-Culture Camp will be continued as well.

We are already planning the next fair and camp. People are willing to send their children to cultural activities, but it is up to the staff to make sure that the attendees are engaged and willing to participate in future years.

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