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Culture Exchange Highlight

Native American youth have fun with mentors at 4-H clubs
Head. Heart. Hands. Health. These are the four values of 4-H, an organization that serves youth across the country. 4-H is run through land-grant universities. In addition to helping kids in urban, rural and suburban areas, 4-H has also been helping Native American youth for nearly 20 years. Today, 4-H reaches more than 60,000 Native youth, and most live on reservations.

In 2012, 4-H began a mentoring program specifically for tribal youth. It reaches youth in 29 Native communities who are now participating in fun and engaging 4-H activities that teach them about their culture and heritage.

Here are some highlights from a few tribal youth mentoring programs:

North Dakota State University
Five youth from the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe went to Washington, D.C., in April for 4-H’s week-long program called Citizenship Washington Focus. The best part? Performing their tribe’s traditional dance at the Smithsonian National Museum of the American Indian. These youth are part of a traveling dance group. They travel off of the reservation with a drum group to share their culture. The youth were honored to share their tribe’s dance in the nation’s capital.


A men's grassy dancer from the Standing
Rock Indian Reservation.
Photo Credit: Sue Isbell, North Dakota
State University 4-H, Sioux County Extension

University of Minnesota
Fond du Lac tribal youth enjoyed a summer camp filled with archery, gardening, and cooking. The 4-H site ran an Archery Club once a week to prepare youth for a cross-reservation competition this fall. Youth also had the chance to work with adult mentors on gardening. They planted cold weather vegetables, made freezer jam, and participated in an omelet cook-off. The omelet cook-off was such a success that youth and their families participated in another cook-off for a family event. Families worked as teams to create stir-fry dishes to impress a panel of judges. The top three families were awarded prizes.


Adult leaders teach youth from Fond du Lac
about archery.
Photo Credit: Susan Beaulieu, University
of Minnesota 4-H

Oklahoma State University
Summer camp was a great time for Chickasaw Nation youth to learn about their culture. Youth at the Oklahoma State University 4-H in Hughes County went to the Chickasaw Culture Center in Sulphur, Oklahoma. They learned how their Chickasaw ancestors beaded and made baskets. The Center also has an authentic Chickasaw village. Youth and their mentors walked through this area and saw what life was like for their ancestors.


Youth from OSU 4-H listen to a story at the
Chickasaw Culture Center.
Photo Credit: Oklahoma State University 4-H,
Hughes County Extension

See the list below to see which counties offer the 4-H Tribal Youth Mentoring program. Go to http://www.4-h.org/get-involved/find-4-h-clubs-camps-programs/ to locate the site nearest you.

Clemson University (South Carolina)
• York County

Cornell University (New York)
• Franklin County

Montana State University
• Flathead Reservation

Michigan State University
• Schoolcraft County

North Carolina A&T State University
• Cherokee County

North Dakota State University
• Mountrail County
• Rolette County
• Sioux County

Oklahoma State University
• Cherokee County
• Hughes County
• Tulsa County

Oregon State University
• Jefferson County

South Dakota State University
• Pine Ridge Reservation

University of Alaska
• Southeast Fairbanks Census Area

University of California
• Siskiyou County

University of Hawaii at Manoa
• Hawaii County

University of Maine
• Penobscot County
• Washington County

University of Minnesota
• Carlton County

University of Nebraska
• Knox County

University of Nevada
• Lyon County

University of Wisconsin
• Vilas County
• Forest County

University of Wyoming
• Fremont County

Washington State University
• Ferry County
• Klickitat County

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