Mrs. Daveen Williams (Tribal Member of the California Valley Miwok Tribe) organized an overnight campout called Camp Kote (means to Eat, Dance, Gather & Sing) for American Indian kids ranging from age 5 through 18. The group consisted of about 25 participants. All the participants were native kids from different tribes. The kids enjoyed activities such as making traditional Miwok baskets, medallions and necklaces. Other activities included hiking, biking, swimming, fishing; canoeing, and learning about nature and the natural environment. Chaperone Bella Williams taught the kids how to make ice cream in a freezer bag. Not a dull moment was had. It was hilarious to see the boys and girls competing to get their tents up first.
For some, this was the first time of ever experiencing an overnight campout and being that the age range was as young as 5 years old, safety was a priority. The kids were taught how to safely wear their life jackets, and the importance of swimming and exploring the camp site (and facilities) in pairs and/or groups at all times. It was very important that the kids understood that it’s very easy for a responsible child to go exploring by themselves, taste some vegetation, approach animals and other seemingly harmless acts that could lead to serious problems. Fire safety was also explained.
Healthy food was served, stories told, lasting friendships were made and the weather was perfect. By the end of the campout, participants were already talking about next year. Miwok Elder, Ms. Gladys Jeff sang traditional Miwok songs around the campfire and the kids talked about what jobs they want when they grow up. In order for this campout to come together, Daveen sold Indian tacos, necklaces and medallions to raise the money needed to purchase the necessary supplies for the campout. Daveen also accepted some donations Everyone enjoyed the fresh out-door air, the cool water and all the events that all summed up to a very successful campout.
CVMT sincerely thanks Tribal Member, Daveen Williams for her love of teaching native children the Miwok culture and for making it possible for these kids to enjoy a fun and safe campout within our own county of San Joaquin. CVMT would also like to thank the kindhearted people who helped chaperone the children and events, Mr. Doug Williams, Ms. Raquel Williams, Bella Williams, Leanna Italiana; Miwok Elder, Ms. Gladys Jeff; and a special thank you to Karen & John Eagal of Eagal Lakes,Tracy California.