Tribal Youth and Elder Virtual Gathering presentation. (Submitted photo)
By LORI ANN EDMO
FORT HALL — The Shoshone-Bannock Tribes Language and Cultural Preservation Department is continuing tribal youth and elder gatherings virtually under the Tribal Practices for Wellness in Indian Country grant from the Centers for Disease Control.
A Zoom gathering was conducted February 12 where participants learned about continued plans for the grant including creating public service announcements on the meaning of wellness incorporating traditional knowledge and tribal practices for wellness.
LCPD is inviting community youth from elementary school to college to prepare a public service announcement on what wellness means to them through a video interview of a tribal elder. They plan to offer training so those interested should contact LCPD to get more information.
Shoshone language teacher Tony Moon Elk gave the opening prayer then talked about what the community could do to strive towards wellness. He said the first thing when doing something is to always have a prayer and the second is to take of one’s body through exercise and eating the right kinds of food. “Our behavior as a whole community and as an individual has an impact on wellness – try and train ourselves to be a better person. We need to heal as a community through our prayers – be strong,” he said.
Traditional plants nursery.
Among the strategies in the grant are traditional food classes, harvesting and gathering field trips; discussion forums on tribal practices for wellness in Shoshone-Bannock Country; supporting annual cultural events; walks/runs in ancestral territories; making and distributing raised garden bed boxes; distributing traditional food plants to the community from the Tribal Nursery such as camas, sweet tobacco root and chokecherry trees at the end of April, along with creating a Tribal Museum ethno-botany garden that includes traditional plants.
The reasons LCPD is hosting the youth/elder virtual gatherings is to share stories and teachings of Shoshone and Bannock people; to learn about wellness as told through stories and teachings; to speak and share tribal languages to encourage learning and use; to encourage individuals, school groups and families to share more in wellness through intergenerational activity.
Other topics include traditional and contemporary physical activity; deniwappe or tenechuive – tribal teachings from elders; connections to the environment; history; music and dance; sobriety, along with healthy relationships, etc.
Nolan Brown, historic researcher, said this summer, float trips are planned for the youth on the Snake River in Grand Teton National Park and the upper Owyhee River, kayaking down Bottoms and the Portneuf River, is also planned. They hope to get people out to ancestral territories to provide lessons about the area. It will be centered on health and wellness including gathering traditional foods.
A language immersion camp is planned where tents will be set up in the softball field area.
Participants were encouraged to introduce themselves and talk about concerns or what they want to learn.
Lemuel Stone expressed concern about the Native American Church and getting more young people involved.
Monique Lewis and her father Tom participated from Portland, Oregon. They want to learn more about culture and language. They are currently taking the Shoshone classes.
Eleena Eldridge said she has an interest in learning the language.
Sequoia Pahvitse Auck said she’s trying to get back to a healthier place and believes family is really important.
Sho-Ban Junior High School seventh grader Aiyana Eschief participated throughout the session and offered comment. She noted Nummie Osborne is one of her teachers at Sho-Ban.
After the session was over, participants were offered a drive thru dinner at the LCPD where buffalo stew and Bannock bread was on the menu, along with fruit.
The next session is February 26 on Zoom where a tribal elder will discuss hunting traditional foods.