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Indian Village at jamboree provides rewarding mountaintop experience

  Jorge Salazar and Kyle McCaffery             Pulse       Operation Arrow 2017

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Most mornings at jamboree, sleepy-eyed Scouts lace up their boots to hit the trail with their OA Trek Guide. But this is not any hike -- it is an enriching cultural experience. 

The American Indian Village (AIV) is a unique program area to the jamboree. Through education about the Shawnee people, it incorporates the three main principles of the OA: brotherhood, cheerfulness and service.

In four days, the top of Garden Ground Mountain was transformed from an empty field into a cultural center. The AIV provides daily program that includes dance shows, blowgun shooting, tomahawk throwing, spear launching, flint knapping and other traditional skill-based activities. The program serves to educate participants about the Shawnee tribe, who originally inhabited the area around the Summit Bechtel Reserve until they were relocated to Oklahoma.

The program this year incorporated science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) into each activity. For example, at the fire-by-friction station, staff members not only explained how indigenous peoples ignited fires by rubbing sticks together, but also taught the physics behind why this method works.

Between three and six thousand Scouts visit the American Indian Village at the jamboree daily. Participants are excited to engage in the Shawnee culture and embrace American Indian history. Scouts enjoy the program thanks to the 70 team members there who specialize in the various activities offered. This remarkable program is one of many ways the OA has fueled Scouting’s adventure at the 2017 National Jamboree.