ND Indian Youth Leadership Academy learns about equine therapy

Updated: Jun. 17, 2021 at 9:55 PM CDT
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BISMARCK, N.D. (KFYR) - The North Dakota Indian Youth Leadership Academy is back after being canceled last year by the pandemic.

The week-long program features cultural teachings, activities, and college visits.

Equine or Horse therapy is just one of the many activities’ students participated in this week at the academy.

“I liked hearing the stories, and I liked getting to walk up to the horses and trying to interact with them and get close to them,” said Madisan Littlewind from Spirit Lake Sioux Tribe.

Indian Youth Leadership staff say Equine Therapy is becoming one with the spirit of the horse.

They say the horses form a bond with the person and heals them.

“Touching an untouched horse is great experience and having that stallion kind of run up to me like nothing, was actually a great opportunity. I just love it. It just made me connect with mother earth,” said Brianna Littlewind, Spirit Lake Sioux Tribe.

Along with learning about their culture, staff say students enhance their leadership skills.

“Throughout the whole week they were to go head and start thinking about a speech because one of them, they’ll vote amongst themselves, will be a president and a vice president, and whoever gets those positions, one will be an alternate with the president,” said NATIVE Inc. Community and Youth Coordinator Jen Mellette.

At the end of the week students will participate in a graduation ceremony and receive a certificate.

You can find out more at: Non-profit | Native American Development Center | North Dakota (

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