The Cheyenne River Youth Project in Eagle Butte has announced that it will host the Wakpá Wašté Háŋpapȟečuŋpi — or Cheyenne River Handgame — Workshop & Tournament on Friday and Saturday, Dec. 1-2 at its Cokata Wiconi (Center of Life) teen center.
From 4 to 9 p.m. on Friday, presenters will share information about traditional handgames and playing styles, and the young people will make sticks and establish teams. The handgame tournament will start at 9 a.m. on Saturday, and play will continue until 4 p.m. The event is open free to youth ages 12-18, and CRYP staff is encouraging experienced players to attend the workshop and help provide instruction.
“We’re dedicated with providing our young people with access to a healthier and more vibrant future,” said Julie Garreau, CRYP’s executive director. “That means giving them more opportunities — and specifically, more opportunities to strengthen the connection they have with their Lakota culture. We’re all very much looking forward to learning more about traditional Lakota handgames during this special event.”
Hand games also are known as stick games or moccasin games. Each of the 16 sticks represents one of the spirits in the Lakota creation story, and traditionally, the bones were created from elk, buffalo or deer bones. The “marked” bone featured a painted line.
Educator and cultural event coordinator Orlando Avery is helping the nonprofit, grassroots youth project organize this cultural event for Cheyenne River’s youth. CRYP also will welcome Philomene Lakota from Pine Ridge, who will teach handgame songs and make sticks and bones with the young people; and Matt Iron Hawk, a retired Lakota language teacher and longtime handgame player, who will discuss the history of handgames and talk about the different playing styles.
Singers Dakota Kidder & Crew will provide traditional music throughout the two-day workshop. For more information, call Jerica Widow at (605) 964-8200 or Orlando Avery at (505) 490-8624. Youth participants will need to fill out participation forms prior to the workshop. And, to stay up to date on the latest CRYP news and events, follow the youth project on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
The Cheyenne River Youth Project, founded in 1988, is a grassroots, not-for-profit organization dedicated to providing the youth of the Cheyenne River reservation with access to a vibrant and secure future through a wide variety of culturally sensitive and enduring programs, projects and facilities that ensure strong, self-sufficient families and communities.