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Twin Cities Youth Paint Mural on the Greenway

This summer, youth at the Little Earth Extension of the Boys & Girls Clubs of the Twin Cities in Minneapolis, Minnesota had the exciting opportunity to assist local artists with a large-scale mural on the Greenway, a large bike trail in Minneapolis. It all started when the Midtown Greenway contacted the Little Earth Education Department to express interest in getting several teens in the community to help work on a mural they were planning for the trail. From there, the organization partnered with the Minneapolis College of Art and Design (MCAD) to work with students and create internships for teens. Collaboration with Little Earth began nearly a year ago, and they began (and completed) the mural in August 2017. Youth from the Little Earth extension unit participated and assisted during a planned community day, and worked with the interns and artists on various sections of the mural.

Located just a few blocks away from Little Earth housing, the mural depicts the three interns that were a part of this project. It also includes an image of a Native woman carrying other people, symbolic of the weight women carry throughout life, as well as how women pass on heritage and culture. In addition, each young girl is holding an object sacred to the Little Earth community. These items include a tobacco pouch, sage, and corn. Other images represent tribal stories and animals considered sacred to the culture.

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Lumbee Days at the NMAI in Washington, D.C.

The Lumbee Tribe, in collaboration with the Smithsonian’s National Museum of the American Indian (NMAI), recently hosted Lumbee Days at the NMAI in Washington, D.C. This event was an opportunity to showcase the Lumbee people, their culture, history, and artists to the world; allowing the Tribe to narrate their own story so that others can begin to learn and understand who they are. About twenty Lumbee youth from the Boys & Girls Club of the Lumbee Tribe of North Carolina participated in the laying of the wreath, a somber ritual at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. Sierra M. and Tyee S., from the local high school ROTC, the Tribal Chairman, Harvey Godwin Jr., and Rose Marie Lowry-Townsend, Club CEO, participated in the formal ceremony, laying the custom cultural design to signify respect to the fallen Lumbee soldiers and all soldiers. Chairman Godwin shared, “In Lumbee culture it is important to honor the military service and sacrifice of our members, that is an essential lesson for our youth and why it was vital to me that our Boys & Girls Club members take the lead in laying the wreath on the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.”

The youth of the Boys & Girls Club of the Lumbee Tribe of North Carolina were actively involved in a variety of programs during the 4 day event. They shared their knowledge of native arts including corn husk dolls, pottery, and gourd rattles during hands-on activities in the museum’s imagiNATIONS Activity Center. The youth demonstrated traditional art techniques to young museum visitors and provided them with an opportunity to make their own to take home.

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Bay Mills Youth Learn about Ecosystems

This summer, The Boys & Girls Club of Bay Mills partnered with Bay Mills Community College (BMCC) to conduct a program for their youth known as “Science Camp.” Science Camp is a week-long activity in which youth in 4th – 7th grade participate in a variety of unique and exciting activities that include:

  • Native traditions, plants & medicines
  • Traditional Harvesting of Fish
  • Forensic Science Studies
  • Aquatics research: Learning about aquatic ecosystems within the Great Lakes Region
  • Health & Fitness Science
  • Nutrition
  • Farming

According to Bay Mills staff, one of the most popular activities is the aquatics research on ecosystems. For this activity, the Bay Mills Biology Department takes youth on a trip to a local stream located near the Pendills Creek Fish Hatchery, where they are taught how to properly examine, measure, and log information on fish. Participants learned that if you catch a fish, you can look up the species on your state’s Department of Natural Resources (DNR) website to see if it is a tagged species. If it is, the head of the fish can be brought to any DNR office for research. The youth also learned how to recognize plants and different aquatic bugs.

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Summer Baseball Thunders through Rosebud Communities

There are very few opportunities on the Rosebud Reservation in South Dakota for youth to learn and play organized baseball. The Boys & Girls Clubs of Rosebud took that information, turned it into an opportunity, and started their very own baseball league called Thunder League Baseball! This league is a way to teach youth on the reservation how to play and enjoy baseball over the summer months. This summer, there were seven teams and over 80 youth that participated in the league. The season-ending tournament came to a close with two teams, Sunrise and Mission, facing off for the championship title. Mission came out on top with a score of 13-7 over Sunrise. However it was Sunrise player Preston B., who has been an active player for the Sunrise team for the past four years, that earned the honor of Thunder Player of the Year for being the team member that was the closest to hitting an out-of-the-park home run.

Andrew Haines, Boys & Girls Clubs of Rosebud-Antelope Site Director, felt that the Thunder League was a huge success this year. He offered praise to Preston and all the boys that were dedicated to being true team players. Haines commented that “the goal is to bring baseball back to every community in the Rosebud Reservation,” and they got one step closer this year by adding the Okreek and Swift Bear communities.

Congratulations to the Mission team, Preston B., and all of the Rosebud staff and youth that were dedicated to making this a great season for Thunder League Baseball!

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Opening of the Nespelem Boys & Girls Club

The number of Boys & Girls Clubs on Native Lands is growing again! A second Boys & Girls Club is opening on the Colville Reservation in Nespelem, WA. Success of the partnership between the Boys & Girls Clubs of Snohomish County and the Colville Business Council has been evident in the Inchelium community, located on the Colville Reservation, with the Inchelium Boys & Girls Club. As a result, the Colville Reservation will be expanding to the Nespelem Community Center with a soft opening for the Boys & Girls Club scheduled in mid June. The Nespelem Boys & Girls Club will have easy access to the community as the Clubhouse will be located at the local community center. Though this will be a shared space, the gym in the community center will be closed off to the public for Club kids to use during specific times.

"We're pleased with the decision of the Colville Tribes to expand the Boys & Girls Club into the Nespelem district,” said Bill Tsoukalas, Executive Director of the Boys & Girls Clubs of Snohomish County, “Today there are over 170 Boys & Girls Clubs on Native Lands. Our organization includes partnerships with the Tulalip Tribes, Spokane Tribe, Warm Springs Tribe as well as the Colville Confederated Tribes.”

Nespelem Boys & Girls Club will be working hard throughout the summer in preparation for their grand opening this fall!

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BGCA Native Services Unit
Dallas Service Center
2107 N. Collins Boulevard
Richardson, TX 75080

Direct: 972-581-2374
E-mail: BGCANS@BGCA.ORG