Summer Camp

Get Ready for Summer Camp 2023!

The Institute for American Indian Studies is offering six weeks of summer camp focused on the lifeways and lessons of Native Peoples! Join experienced educators and camp staff on a journey through one or several themes.

Each week, while hiking in the woods, playing games, doing crafts, and making friends, campers will work together to complete a group project. By doing so, campers will not only learn valuable life skills but will also have a positive impact on future visitors, students, and campers.

Summer Camp Mission

To encourage children to practice team building skills, increase their appreciation for nature, and connect with a culture that has more than 10,000 years of history.

2023 Details

Who: Children Ages 6 – 12

When: Monday – Friday (9:00am – 3:00pm), specific dates listed below.

Where: The Institute for American Indian Studies in Washington, CT

Pricing: $315 for IAIS Members; $355 for Non-Members.* Camp pricing includes a deposit of $100, to be paid at the time of registration. This deposit is not refundable after June 1, 2023, without serious extenuating circumstances.

Registration Now Open!

2023 Camp Sessions & Dates

Puzzles of the Past: Putting it All Together

June 26 – June 30      

How do people today figure out what life was like a long time ago? Until someone invents a time machine, we have to carefully look for clues that people in the past left behind. Campers who attend this week will travel through thousands of years of history, from a time before the first people lived here until the present day. Learn about a variety of tools and techniques that scientists, historians, and cultures throughout the world use to make meaning of the past. Participate in mock archaeology digs, uncover hidden history, and piece together puzzles from the past!

Take Shelter! One of Your Five Basic Needs

July 10 – July 14      

Shelter is one of the five basic needs that all animals, including humans, need to survive. Thousands of years ago, the indigenous inhabitants of the Americas had developed different strategies for making shelter using their deep understanding of the environments in which they lived. In this week’s camp session, participants will construct various kinds of shelters of their own. Campers will also practice survival skills, such as knot tying, navigation, and safe use of fire, so that they can be better prepared to fulfill their five basic needs in outdoor settings without access to modern technology.

Learning the ABC’s of Traditional Tech: Atlatls, Bows and Canoes

July 17 – July 21     

How do you use technology in your daily life? In today’s Digital Age, with access to computers, cell phones, and electricity, it is pretty easy to think that technology of the past was simple. In fact, people of the past figured out creative ways to move around, construct shelter, find food, and make tools that allowed them to thrive in their surroundings. In this week’s session, campers will practice survival methods and traditional skills that people in this area have been using for thousands of years. As they build tools based on those developed by peoples of the past, campers will practice the techniques of experimental archaeology.

Please note: campers will not be going canoeing this week, but will be learning about traditional canoe making methods.

Stories of Survival: Native Lifeways in the Eastern Woodlands

July 24 – July 28  

What lessons can we learn from Native cultures? By working together, developing new technologies, and passing down their traditions from one generation to the next, they have been able to survive through many changes and challenges over thousands of years. This week’s camp session will feature activities that focus on the value of teamwork, adapting to change, and honoring our unique differences as campers learn about the diverse and dynamic cultures of Native Americans. Hear from Native voices in the present about the importance of caring for the land and its resources for future generations.

Being Resourceful: Gifts of the Natural World

July 31 – August 4

The hunt is on for some resourceful campers! Long ago, before there were supermarkets, restaurants or online orders, cultures throughout the world developed different skills and technologies to help themselves find food and make tools using natural resources. Even today, plants and animals provide food and resources for making items that we need to survive. In this week’s session, campers will practice animal tracking and plant identification, while making tools and learning skills that could be used for survival situations. Along the way, they will explore how Native cultures used their understanding of the natural world to thrive for thousands of years in the Woodland ecosystem.

Etuaptmumk: A Different Way of Thinking

August 7 – August 11

How do we know what we know about the natural world or people living in the past? Based on a Mi’kmaw (Native American) word Etuaptmumk, the name for this week’s session refers to learning how to see the benefits of both traditional Indigenous knowledge and Western scientific thought. Through hikes, mock digs, and group projects, campers will be introduced to sciences such as archaeology, anthropology, geology and ecology. Through traditional Native American stories, campers will also learn about indigenous explanations of the world passed down through generations. All in all, this week’s camp session will be a fascinating adventure for curious and creative minds.

Questions? Let us know!