All Kinds of News for January 08, 2020
Several times a year, Boulder Creek Academy offers the opportunity for a one week Native American experience to their students, and most recently the opportunity for students and their parents to be involved for a one-day event. BCA students, parents and staff take a journey with Gray Wolf, a historian who has spent the last 20 years sharing his knowledge and experience of Native American culture with groups of all ages.
The focus of the experience is the chance for BCA students to learn about the 7 Gifts. According to Cheyenne culture, these gifts are to help guide one's life to be a better person. The 7 Gifts are Humility, Love, Respect, Courage, Generosity, Wisdom, and Truth. The first activity has the students share their personal definition of these gifts and what the value means to them. When speaking with Troi Morris, the special projects coordinator at Boulder Creek, she shares that, “Everyone can have a definition, but if it doesn’t mean something to them personally, then it isn’t relevant. Getting to know the student’s views is important to see what life looks like from their perspective. It also helps to make the experience real and relevant for them.”
Troi goes on to say that, “Respect is taught first. Respect is given this position because it is important for the students to see the need to respect themselves and others. Courage and Love are taught together, because courage is necessary in order to be able to love first themselves and ultimately be able to love others.”
In working with Gray Wolf on many of these week long experiences, the consensus has been that Humility is the hardest one, very few kids have a definition for this. It is not generally taught. When making it relevant to the students, humility is described as being open to being teachable; it includes helping the student to realize that they don’t know everything, and it is okay for someone who needs to be shown the way. According to the Cheyenne culture, it’s the basis for all the other gifts; they revolve around humility.
During the week long experience students get to sleep in an authentic tipi. In addition, they learn and are given opportunities to practice the Seven Gifts. Meanwhile, they engage in a lesson or two in the skill of archery and tomahawk throwing. They spend time creating various projects with leatherworkings, and keep these items as tangible memories to reflect back on the experience. After learning about the many symbolic representations of the 7 Gifts found in nature, these values are discussed in a circle fashion including an authentic talking stick around a campfire. This connection of sharing stories with Gray Wolf makes a powerful memory that is cherished time and time again. This adventure will conclude with a real Native American sweat lodge, which solidifies their weeklong experience.
An authentic sweat also gives the students the opportunity to address their past, and to give them the place to heal. They have the opportunity to identify the things they want to let go of in life. Once they do that, they write such item(s) on a piece of paper. At the end of the first phase of the sweat, they get the opportunity to burn that paper in the ceremonial fire, and the smoke takes this item from them and allows then to focus in a different direction. Once again this powerful act leaves a lasting impression for all.
According to Lisa Hester, Executive Director of Boulder Creek Academy, “The purpose of these experiences is to provide a foundation for building skills that will benefit the students for a lifetime.”
About Boulder Creek Academy
At Boulder Creek Academy, students rediscover their academic and social confidence. The key to our success is that we reignite our students’ belief in themselves by utilizing time-tested and proven methods. Students begin to experience academic achievement, regain self-esteem, learn to embrace their uniqueness and become capable learners who are confident in themselves. Each day at Boulder Creek Academy is purposefully designed to maximize experiences that allow students to practice social skills, improve self-worth and develop healthy identity, benefit from therapeutic learning and to have fun.