Mardel Tissidimit, Shoshone Language Apprentice with a bag she weaved.
By ROSELYNN YAZZIE
FORT HALL — The Shoshone-Bannock Tribes Language & Culture Preservation (L&CP) Department received Tribal Practices Grant for three years.
The grant was applied for with the help of the Diabetes Program through the Center for Disease Control (CDC), who has a nationwide initiative for healing and wellness.
They applied for the grant in January 2018. L&CP Cultural Resource Director, Louise Dixey, explained the main goal of the grant is to support the seasonal, cultural and traditional practices that will promote health and wellness. They will accomplish this by increasing opportunities for tribal members to attend cultural activities in the traditional homelands. They will increase the number of community members that participate in the family centered community activities and events that teach and build upon, celebrate and strengthen cultural and traditional practices and associated language lexicon.
The second area they want to focus on is increasing educational opportunities for tribal members to improve understanding of harvest, seasonal and traditional practices.
The third area they will cover is cultural teachings and practices about traditional healthy foods that promote health, sustenance and stability.
The Tribal Practices Grant is for three years and is for $90,000 each year. The first year was spent coming up with the budget to spend the awarded amount, so they didn't get to do all they wanted to accomplish that first year because of delays beyond their control. They are currently in their second year and were able to do a carryover budget.
The Diabetes Project will help by creating the nutritional value of the traditional foods. They will also help support by coming to the traditional events and assisting where needed.
So far L&CP has done classes such as traditional basket weaving, bow & arrow making, all in the hopes people can learn about and utilize the tools they make. A digging stick class is also in the works.
Another class on willows, specifically used for shade making, is set to take place on Saturday’s in March, beginning March 9. Tribal elder Marietta Cortez will teach the class.
“That’s the whole purpose for us having these classes, they’re all building up to the harvest. And learning how to do the harvesting,” she said.
The Cultural Events for 2019 are set as follows:
Buffalo Hunt in Jackson Hole, Wyo. April 17-18; Bitterroot Harvest in Mackay, Idaho April-May; Camas Prairie Homecoming/Camas Gathering in Fairfield, Idaho June 1 and 2; Return of the Boise Valley People in Boise, Idaho June 14-16; Salmon Fishing June 29-July; Virginia City Treaty Day Gathering in Virginia City, Mont., July 12-13; Service Berry Harvest (On & Off-Reservation) July 22-August 3; Bannock Gathering in Fort Hall, Idaho August 5-6; Chokecherry Harvest and Huckleberry Harvest August 18-September 14; Shoshone-Bannock Tribes Festival August 8-11; Agai Deka Gathering in Salmon, Idaho August 16-17; Shoshonean Reunion in Lawton, Okla., September.
At the end of the grant a video will be created to highlight the goals fulfilled by the grant and documented for the future generation.
“The whole plan is to help families and young people to preserve these teachings and so that we can keep continuing to go to the areas off reservation and on reservation,” said Dixey.