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Native American students tell their stories at the U’s storytelling camp

The weeklong camp was designed for youth from the Ute Tribe.

Thirty-three junior high and high school students from the Uintah-Ouray Reservation participated in the U’s Storytelling Camp from June 6 -9.

Led by the Office of Engagement and Undergraduate Studies, the weeklong camp was designed for youth from the Ute Tribe. Students were presented with a number of options for telling their stories including video, mural painting, bookmaking, virtual reality and social media. They stayed in the Kahlert Village dorms, and spent their free time hiking, participating in Indigenous wellness workshops and practicing yoga.

“We at the university who participate in the camp are greatly enriched by the Ute Indian Tribe youth playing and learning with us, and the students just love having the campus, and all its wonders, at their disposal. The stories they create are fun and intriguing. But when it is all said and done, it is the human connections that are the magic sauce,” said Martha Macomber, director of Native American Outreach and Community Engagement for the Office of Undergraduate Studies.

Lamona Blackhorse, a seventh-grader who participated in the storytelling camp.

Lamona Blackhorse, a seventh-grader who aspires to be a neurosurgeon, comes from a family of artists. Her father and brother are painters and her mother does beadwork. Blackhorse chose bookmaking for her story. “I like to draw, so I gathered all my art and brought it here to put in this book”

One of the pages in Blackhorse’s book is a list noting instances where people have treated her poorly. “Sometimes people assume I’m Mexican and when I tell them I’m a Native American, they look at me strangely. And sometimes they want to touch my bead necklace without asking.”


U partners that made the camp possible

  • J. Willard Marriott Library
  • American Indian Resource Center
  • University Connected Learning & Adobe Creative Commons
  • College of Fine Arts
  • Utah Museum of Fine Arts
  • School of Medicine Office of Diversity