Letter #249: Tribals

June 6, 2011

Dear Tribals,

You are one of my favorite nights of kamp. The past few years, I’ve really stuck my hand in improving  you. I’ve learned that improving things, especially around kamp, is one of the ways the Lord has wired me. If I’m going to do something, I want it to be worth mine and everyone else’s time. Why do something if you’re not sold out to it?? OK, this isn’t always true, but why do things half-heartedly when with a few tweaks you can do it full out?

So for the last three years we’ve worked to make you what you’ve become today. I’ll be honest, I hated tribal introductions my first three summers. Now, I look forward to them. The kids get excited, and staff have a blast. It’s amazing to me what a location and time of day change, a little music and enthusiasm can do to an event!

"You're going to the Kickapoo nation!!!"

So, let me explain you for all the non-Kanakukers out there. Every kid that comes to K-West is assigned at tribe. Kanakuk means ‘The Loved One’ in Indian, and the land we’re located on used to be Indian territory. So, a great deal of our traditions are based on Native American heritage. The girls either become a Kiowa or a Kickapoo and the boys are Cherokees or Choctaws. Each tribe has a princess or a chief leading them that is a fellow kamper. Throughout the term there is competition among the tribes. At closing ceremonies, either the Kickapoo or Kiowa tribe is raised along with either the Cherokee or Choctaw because they were victorious. So explains you.

Getting painted up for her tribe...

You are a big deal around Kanakuk and because I’ve been adamant about improving how kids find out their tribes over the years, I’ve become the ‘Indian Princess.’ This means I get to put kampers in their tribes. We paint up, dress like Indians and create the most intense and energetic experience we can. It’s an absolute blast and has become one of my favorite activities at kamp.

The council has spoken...

So, welcome into another element of my kamp world. Honestly, I never know what I’m going to be doing day to day…scheduling, tweeting for kamp, being an Indian, giving awards, teaching class, or all at the same time. Since I’ve fallen off the face of the earth for the summer, I hope this gives readers a bit of insight into what I get to do.

Declaring competition among the Kickapoos and Kiowas,

Indian Princess


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