Nathanial Fast Wolf, 14, is a member of CRYP’s second cohort of Waniyetu Wowapi (“Winter Count”) Art Interns. He also served as a Sustainable Agriculture Intern in 2014, spending the summer in the Winyan Toka Win (“Leading Lady”) organic garden, and he’s a regular participant in the Cokata Wiconi (“Center of Life”) Book Club.
Nathanial says Book Club has been, by far, his favorite activity at CRYP. He’s completed two sessions to date, reading a total of eight novels, earning a new Kindle, and hiking Hinhan Kaga (Harney Peak) in March 2015 as part of a special session focused on Native American literature.
“Reading is my biggest hobby,” Nathanial says. “Some of my favorite books are ‘The Outsiders’ by S.E. Hinton, ‘IQ84’ by Hruki Muraki, and ‘Gone With the Wind’ by Margaret Mitchell. My advice to readers? Pay attention to the themes of what you read. That’s the best part!”
He enjoys watching Anime and playing piano, but he says, “I’m not actually as quiet as I seem. I’m really talkative!”
Nathanial says he’s grateful for CRYP’s international volunteer program, which brings volunteers from around the world to South Dakota’s remote, 2.8-million-acre Cheyenne River Sioux Reservation. That program, in fact, has ignited his interest in Russian culture.
“I was able to meet a great volunteer by the name of Elena, who took the time to teach me how to speak a little Russian, learn more about the culture, and get me interested in travel,” he explains. “She continues to be a great pen pal, and for Christmas, she sent me some delicious Russian candy.”
After his high school graduation, Nathanial says he’d like to experience international travel — in particular, he’s hoping to visit Russia. And, he wants to go to college to become either a journalist or a pharmacist.
In the meantime, he’s focused on his art internship, and he has some friendly advice for young people considering the garden internship: Wear proper clothing and shoes.
“Make sure you’ve got clothes and shoes that you don’t mind getting dirty or lost,” he advises. “I lost a shoe in the mud!”
And, above all, take advantage of the opportunities that come your way.
“The Cheyenne River Youth Project is very interested in youth, in helping them,” he says. “CRYP has great possibilities and opportunities, but it is up to you to access them! Access them! Take advantage of the internship programs when they’re offered; they’ll be great on your college applications.”