UTTC Dedicates Ground, Hosts Horse Culture Camp

Feb 15th, 2009 | By | Category: 20-3: Tribal Athletes Fight for Their Place, Tribal College News

FORT NO MORE. After 40 years of utilizing buildings designed as a military fort (Fort Lincoln), United Tribes Technical College is building a new campus. Photo by United Tribes News

With the expanse of its south property as a backdrop, college leaders dedicated the new United Tribes Technical College (UTTC, Bismarck, ND) campus on Sept. 5, 2008. The ceremony marked the start of construction on a 135-acre tract located immediately south of the current campus. When completed, the phased expansion will roughly double the size of the college and cost more than $200 million.

The new campus offers the college its first opportunity in 40 years to design the setting and build facilities specifically for educating college students. Over 100 people attended the dedication. Representatives of the Bismarck-Mandan Chamber of Commerce conducted a formal ribbon-cutting to mark the occasion.

In June, UTTC hosted the seventh annual Nokotas on the Prairie: Math, Science, Technology, and American Indian Culture Camp. The campers, third through sixth graders, participated in math, science, technology, culture, wellness, and equine-care activities. Studying horse culture and working with horses were the camp’s main focus. During the 12 lessons, the students progressed from leading and walking the horses to riding.

The camp’s horsemanship instructor, Virginia Eck, says, “These lessons bring out the best in everyone….There certainly is a disconnect nowadays with rural life and horses in particular. This is a great way to learn and bring out leadership skills. Along with learning respect for horses, it brings out something in a kid’s personality. It’s a great thing.”

In addition to the hands-on horsemanship training, instruction was provided in ecology, water quality, equine health, horse care, and genetics. Other study subjects were botany, wellness, and gardening. Campers picked a topic to research and presented their findings at a community event the last week of camp.

The students also participated in overnight outings to the home of the Nokota Horse Conservancy and a trip to the North Dakota Badlands where a herd of wild Nokota horses roam in the Theodore Roosevelt National Park.

Camp facilitators were: Butch Thunderhawk, American Indian culture facilitator; Derek Schulte, math facilitator; Virginia Eck, equine care and horsemanship facilitator; Dr. Margi Coyle, science facilitator; and Denise Folston, co-director. The camp was also assisted by Rebekah Olson, graduate teaching intern; Frank Bosch, Center for Educational Outreach technician; Barb Schmitt, Leadership Solutions director, and Jim Schmitt, parent volunteer/master griller.

The Nokotas on the Prairie Camp originated in 2003. The camp has been featured at the North Dakota Cowboy Hall of Fame. It is made possible with support from the American Indian Higher Education Consortium, NASA, the National Science Foundation, and United Tribes Technical College.

For information on the camp, contact the camp founder and director, Dr. Jen Janecek-Hartman by phone at (701) 255-3285, ext. 1396, or by email, jjanecek@uttc.edu.

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