A group of five youth from the Delaware Tribe of Indians, ages 14 to 17, visited Delaware Water Gap National Park in July, with stops in New Jersey, New York, and Pennsylvania.
Trip sponsor CeCe Biggoose said: “It was a great time.” She said that none of the youth had ever flown before so “it was a whole new experience.”
The group joined another, and the 13 youth met with a tribal elder from the Delaware Nation of Anadarko, and the superintendent of the national park in Bushkill, Pennsylvania, who presented them with the Delaware tribal flag and vials of soil from Delaware’s homeland.
The group went on daily hikes and learned about the environment, edible plants, and canoeing—they even did an eight-mile canoe trip down the Delaware River.
“Every place we stopped along the way was relevant to our people,” Biggoose said.
“The kids learned about the history of their ancestors and saw where they lived. We went to an archaeological site where they got to participate in digging, and they found some arrowheads,” which they didn’t keep, but found exciting.
The youth also got to experience complete darkness during a hike on the Appalachian Trail—cell phones weren’t allowed.
To make a really well-rounded trip, the youth attended a career day with the National Park Service.
“At the end we went to the airport and there were a lot of tears,” Biggoose said. “They made friends with kids from the other Delaware nations.”