Cherokee youth learn science, culture at Camp Cherokee


(L to R) EraLynn Cody, 12, of Nowata, gets coached for her character “Bull Frog” by Cherokee Storyteller Robert Lewis as Chevy Ryan, 11, of Nowata, portrays “Eagle” in Nowata on June 26.

TAHLEQUAH, Okla. —This summer hundreds of Cherokee youth are building and firing off rockets, programming robots and sharing traditional Cherokee stories at Camp Cherokee, summer camps that are offered in seven communities.

In June, Camp Cherokee finished up its fifth straight week, the latest in Nowata and Kansas. Despite the heat, students, staff and visitors alike enjoyed the activities.

“I’m pretty sure I had more fun than the campers,” said Cherokee Nation Tribal Councilor Dick Lay, who visited the campers Wednesday in Nowata. “I think it’s great that we have this camp available in many of our Cherokee communities, including places like Nowata, for our kids.”

The Cherokee Nation runs Camp Cherokee every year. Its focus is to educate campers on Cherokee culture and incorporate science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) curriculum.

“It’s a very classroom-type style,” said Head Counselor Earl Gonzales. “We still do the cultural games and the storytelling to promote the culture, but we also get the kids exposed to different avenues of educational learning with new crafts, new ideas and new areas, and still have fun.”

Some of the activities the campers are able to participate in include building and experimenting with rockets, basketry and painting and learning about Cherokee Nation environmental programs, college resources and more.

“I really like the STEM class,” said Matthew Wofford, 12, of Wagoner. “I’m a science geek, and mostly we’ve been making rockets and following trajectory, things along those lines.”

Camp Cherokee’s day camps started at the end of May at Dwight Mission and have since been to Disney, Bell, Rogers State University in Claremore, Kansas and Nowata. On average, the camps have hosted about 40 students each, except for Rogers State, which had 106 campers. Camp staff gets two weeks off before moving to Heart O’ Hills in Welling July 15, where more than 220 students have already registered.

Cherokee Nation News Release
Julie Hubbard - 918-207-3896 

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