Camp focuses on traditional skills
ELMO — No matter your age or interests, last week’s Kootenai Language and Ancestral Skills Camp in Elmo made for a fascinating learning experience. From tiny tots listening to ancient lore to parents and grandparents learning how to fashion bark baskets, the Elmo Community Center was a hub of activity June 14-17.
The annual day camp is put on by the Kootenai Culture Committee and focuses on teaching the language and traditional skills to community members, organizer Gigi Caye said. As one of the first activities of summer, the camp is especially popular with the younger crowd.
“The turnout’s always good with our youth,” Gigi said. “I think they look forward to it every year.”
Each morning, everyone from infants to elders gathered for an hour of storytelling by Vernon Finley, followed by language class taught by several Kootenai elders.
“They’re the experts on (the language),” Gigi said.
After Rosemary Caye’s daily lessons in traditional singing, campers enjoyed hearty made-from-scratch lunches served up by Willie Caye, who said he especially enjoyed having young helpers join him in the kitchen this year.