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Sara Chase’s Hupa Language Camps Make a Lasting Impact

8/17/18 in Albany, CA under Dreamstarter Culture & Language Preservation




Albany, CA

The story that keeps on giving

My dream for this grant was to help start a Hupa Language Immersion camp. We were so fortunate with the support of dreamstarter to not only make this dream come true but to also make it an annual event! I had done a much smaller version of this camp a few years ago but we weren’t able to follow up with the same group of kids. That was something that I always regretted but with the Xontehł-taw Language Immersion camp we have officially made it something that will hopefully continue to take place after our grant ends!!

When we were planning for this year’s camp we weren’t sure how much the kids from last year would remember the language or the story. We definitely wanted to make sure we followed the same group of kids so this year’s camp was for 6-7 year olds. We also opened it up for new kids in the same age range. So we decided to work with the same coyote story from last year and in the last few days add in a new story with a similar lesson. We were so pleased to find out that the kids from last year did remember the story but there was still so much that we all could learn from it. We got to make these really awesome coyote mosaics out of traditional Hupa materials like sand, abalone and porcupine quills.

This year we were also fortunate to have more help from Danny Ammon, who was my high school language teacher and his daughter. His expert language knowledge really came in handy since most of the teachers including myself are learners as well. My aunt Verdena Parker continues to be a vital part of the camp and continues to amaze us with her vast knowledge of the language. That’s something I really love about the camp. We really upset the standard top down educational model. We as teachers are open about learning alongside our students.

We had a slightly bigger group this year of wonderful students that we hope to continue to work with in years following. We even had a graduation this year! It was so cute and something we are definitely going to continue to do.

My big dream is to one day start a Hupa Language Immersion school and because of these two camps I think we have a really solid base to build from to make the school a reality!

Again I just want to thank everyone who was involved and especially thank Billy Mills and Runningstrong for making this all possible!!!

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