The Native Youth Club enables Native American students ages 5 through 15 to meet with tribal elders to learn about Native American heritage. The Sioux Falls-based program takes place every Friday from September to May. High school volunteers serve as role models for the younger students. More than 10 Native American tribes are represented from the 80 students registered in the program. The program is free of charge and includes transportation.
Native Youth Club members learn the traditional arts of bead working, shawl making, grass dance outfit making, medicine wheels, and storytelling from the elders. A different tribe is highlighted each week. Students actively engage in hands-on activities under the supervision of adults and elders, thereby developing a sense of community and family.
Students in the program build cultural capital in multiple ways through the Native Youth Club. For those who need extra academic assistance, tutors are available to assist them. The art of storytelling improves the students' verbal and communication skills, while the traditional arts projects encourages students to learn and express themselves through art. In addition, students have the opportunity to showcase Native American dances at local ethnic celebrations, thus demonstrating their knowledge and growth to the community.
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