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Elders Share Southern Paiute Culture With Youth

Parashant National Monument

National Park News

A new tradition is taking hold high in the mountains of Grand Canyon-Parashant National Monument in northwestern Arizona.  For the past three years, Southern Paiute youth from tribal bands in Arizona, Utah and Nevada have gathered near Mt. Trumbull to camp and learn about their culture from respected tribal elders. 

Camp activities this September ranged from making tools, rope, moccasins and brush huts, to playing with Skumpa dolls and the hockey-like Que’pauck game.  Language skills, cultural beliefs and sampling of native foods were also introduced at the fall outing. 

“The experiences the kids get up here are so important to understanding who they as Southern Paiutes are, and why they should be proud of their heritage,” said Gloria Bullets Benson, BLM Arizona Strip District tribal liaison and camp co-founder.  “So many of our children were just not getting any of this knowledge passed along to them.”

Parashant ranger Marty Sims, a member of the Kaibab Band of Paiute Indians, participated in the camp and also began some early student recruitment efforts, demonstrating the potential for career opportunities with NPS and BLM. 

The Yevingkarere Camp was developed with the NPS Youth Partnership program and BLM Take It Outside initiative funding.  Grand Canyon-Parashant National Monument is jointly managed by both agencies.  

“I’m so pleased that we could support this important cultural exchange and once again offer the opportunity for the Southern Paiute people to visit and experience their traditional homelands,” said NPS Superintendent Jeff Bradybaugh. 


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