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Archives on the Air 256: Preserving Arapaho Culture – Wyoming Folklife Archive

Northern Arapaho culture is a rich and impressive tradition unique to Wyoming. But keeping the Arapaho language alive requires time and money. Young people need to be encouraged to speak Arapaho. Starting in the summer of 1987, students aged five to eighteen gathered near the Little Wind River to learn Arapaho. The camp was sponsored by the Arapaho Language and Culture Commission and the Wyoming Council for the Humanities.

Camp was designed to be a total immersion in Arapaho lifestyle, values and ethnic pride. A typical day began with an Arapaho prayer, followed by language lessons. The afternoon was devoted to swimming, nature hikes, traditional crafts and games.

Arapaho elders shared folklore and legends and reminded campers about the importance of respect for each other, the land and kinship. Camp ended with a pow-wow.

See the Wyoming Folklife Archive at UW’s American Heritage Center to learn more about the Arapaho Language and Culture camp.