At the beginning of this kamper term we had our traditional Tribal Night. The air was clouded with smoke from torches as the day slipped into night. The sound of a drum beat is heard faintly in the distance as the Tribal Ceremonies begin and Indians emerge from the woods. The new kampers are briefed that this moment holds great importance, as they are about to find out the destiny of what tribe they belong to. Individually, each girl is called up by name to stand and look into the eyes of the Indian Maiden. It is she that then declares either Kickappo or Kiowa. The tribe is given, cheers ensue, and then the girl runs of to join her friends and new tribal sisters.
During our tribal time this term there was was girl that had a little bit of a twist while receiving her tribe. When she came before me to receive her tribe I declared that she belonged in the Kickapoo tribe. Immediately her face dropped. I noticed her reaction and asked her what was wrong. She told me that her mother was a Kiowa and that she really wanted to be a Kiowa too. Thinking we had made a mistake somewhere I let her know that she could definitely be a Kiowa because daughters always follow suit of their mothers in tribes.
Fast forward a few more days and I am sitting at a picnic table with a precious girl in front of me that is crying with a very heavy heart. She explains to me that she lied. The words came out of her mouth like a heavy brick. I can tell that she had carried around this weight of conviction and guilt for the last few days. She explains that her mother in fact was never in a tribe and that she lied to be with her friends. She told me that she knew it wasn’t the right thing to do and that she felt so bad for it. From there we got to have a special conversation about sin, conviction, and forgiveness. She gave the whole thing to the Lord and I got to tell her how much I admired her courage for coming forward. It is a lesson I pray she doesn’t forget for years to come. I love that in a world where doing the right thing is rapidly fading, Kanakuk can be safe place that can encourages kids to have strong character. I love that something as small as tribal night can teach such huge life lessons…even here at kamp.