Two friends bond with each other -- and their culture -- at camp

Learning to ride
Gabrielle Dow, second from right, rides her horse through Birch Coulee Battlefield during horse training at camp Dakota Wicohan. This is Gabrielle's second year at camp.
Jackson Forderer / For MPR News

For Nevaeh Hoffman, 12, and Gabrielle Dow, 11, learning doesn't stop in the summer months. The two friends from Redwood Falls, Minn., have spent their past few summers attending the Dakota Wicohan camp where they learn and practice aspects of their Native American culture, including riding, language and their favorite — hoop dancing.

At the core of the camp, they practice horseback riding and the Dakota language. The girls also learn hoop dancing — which they like to practice any chance they get. Nevaeh said that the two have known each other for three years and have become close friends.

At Family Fun Day in Morton, Minn., this week, the two showed family and friends what they learned at the camp this summer. Both said that they want to keep practicing and learning the Dakota language, and they're already planning to attend camp next summer.