CROW AGENCY — It was a full day of Crow culture at Little Big Horn College as it was the last day of its summer youth program. Filled with cultural activities, the program is meant to educate the next generation so that they can keep the culture alive.
“Some of these kids don’t come from like a really strong cultural background, and as they grow, they’re learning. This is an opportunity for them to learn their own culture,” said the summer youth program coordinator, Teanna Braine.
These teens have spent all summer learning about their own culture hands-on, from tipi raising to the importance of horse regalia.
"We wanted to help instill that with our youth,” said Amber Cummins, an educator for Crow culture.
Cummins and her daughter Cailei brought in their own hand-beaded regalia to demonstrate the proper way to dress a horse.
“I see a lot of people that don’t know what I know, and sometimes it’s surprising to me that they didn’t get that time or that knowledge, so I feel really blessed to do it,” said Cailei Cummins.
Then it was on to arrow throwing.
“There’s not too many arrow makers, and the group of men that are throwing out there now is kind of becoming a smaller group,” said Tyler Left Hand, a member of the Crow tribe.
There’s a reason why you only see men throw arrows: Crow tradition dictates that women are not allowed to touch them.
Good for 20-year-old Albert Gros-Ventre as he attended the summer youth program to get back to his roots.
“I’m kind of been lacking in more of my culture side so I want to get more into that, if that makes sense,” Gros-Ventre said.
For 16-year-old Jaden Broke Nope, it’s something that he said he’s been missing his whole life.
“Normally, I don’t come from cultural backgrounds. I wasn’t really raised around it too much. I just grew up struggling basically, it feels good to get back into it, you know,” said Broke Nope.
Participants in the program also raised tipis, learned about native plants, and took a tour of the college’s greenhouse this Wednesday. And Little Big Horn College’s summer youth program might be done for the season, but there’s always next year.
“I just feel like I need to get more kids into it. Keep them out of trouble like my friends too,” Broke Nope said.