New Burns Paiute Tribe program focuses on bridging gap between youth and elders and fostering community leadership
The Burns Paiute Tribe has implemented a new program that encourages interaction between youths, elders and others in the community as well as creating ties between tribal and non-tribal leaders.
It’s called “Spanning Generations: Tribal Leaders Program.” It started about one month ago as program coordinators Elise Adams and Myra Peck began working on various activities with community members each Friday at the Gathering Center to take advantage of the four-day school week.
Activities on a recent Friday included an Elder Breakfast sponsored by the social service program on the reservation (the first week of the month), a Forest Service Job Fair coordinated by a tribal member who works for the Forest Service, beading with Adams and Peck and Bingo put on by the All-American Boxing Club. The Spanning Generations program taps into many different groups.
Adams and Peck recently took a group of about 20 on a field trip to the Four Rivers Cultural Center in Ontario. More trips will be scheduled in the future to places such as Castle Rock. These field trips focus on Paiute cultural exhibits and places that have significant historical meaning to the tribe.
The program’s purpose as described in the original proposal that was submitted to the tribal council is “to utilize every available local resource to honor our aging leaders, sustain and support our current leaders and support the growth and development of our future leaders.”
Friday activities will revolve around seven facets of cultural preservation and survival:
1. Story and oral history telling;
2. Academic tutors for students and adults seeking a GED;
3. Paiute life-skills learning, preservation and recording of specific skill sets;
4. Paiute language;
5. Natural resources;
6. Green living, restoration and research
7. Prevention and public safety.
Learning the Paiute language will eventually be a key part of the program but both Peck and Adams said that aspect of the program has yet to be set up. It will take coordination with the elders and the Tribal Council. “It’s just in the beginning stages,” Peck said. “There’s interest there.”
The ultimate goal is to bring members of the community together while retaining Paiute cultural traditions. “We want to make it fun to learn and come together as a community,” Adams said.
She added that if there are people within the community who would be willing to teach art, cooking or other classes, the program is always looking for instructors. Those who are interested in volunteering their talents and time can call Burns Paiute Tribe General Manager Beth Coahran at 541-573-2088 ext. 258 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.