We would start the day with an opening circle. We would check in with the students about how they were feeling and then turn on the Hupa only timer! This was incredibly important because it signaled a break in what they were used to, and within this time to really try to speak Hupa even if it were only for those 3-4 hours a day.
Once the timer was on we would then proceed to sing a few songs in the language to teach about emotions, body parts, actions, numbers and colors. We would close our circle with a bit of Hupa yoga to stretch our bodies and get ready to take on the day! Watch us run, stand and jump!
After lunch would be one of my favorite parts of the day. We would take our walk to the creek. We even had a song for walking! Ya:ydil whima:lyo’ niwho:ng-xw (We are walking, my friends, in a good way). While we were at the creek we really tried to connect with the land. Ninisa:n, the land, is also one of our greatest teachers. We would ask the kids diydi ohLtsis and then they could tell us what they saw based off the vocabulary we taught them earlier in the day.
On the last day we wanted to share everything we learned with the community and most importantly the elders. Without the strength and knowledge of the elders none of us would be here and none of us would know any of the language!
I really couldn’t have asked for a better group of kids. On the last day each student received a packet to take home filled with a storybook of the coyote story, a CD with the story audio and the circle time songs, and emoji sticks to tell their families how they are doing. And last but not least they were each able to take home a stuffed coyote of their own so that they would always remember the camp, the story and the lessons coyote has to teach them.
The last thing I want to say is that this was as much of a learning experience for me as it was for the kids, if not more. I think most of the teacher would also agree with me. None of us are fluent speakers so we really had to work hard before and during the camp to make sure that were ready to speak the language for 4 hours. It definitely wasn’t 100% immersion but we tried to get as close to it as possible. I know I personally feel much more capable and confident speaking in the language now and I can’t wait for the next camp! I want to send a huge ts’ehdiyah (thank you) out to all of the teachers, parents, students, community and Running strong for helping me start to build towards my dream!