This fall, the Cheyenne River Youth Project will host six Lakota Culture Camps at its Cokata Wiconi (Center of Life) teen center. Scheduled for October and November, the 15-hour camps were made possible by a NEA ArtWorks grant for folk and traditional arts, and the ArtPlace America Creative Placemaking Fund.
The six camps are part of CRYP’s Waniyetu Wowapi (Winter Count) Lakota Youth Arts & Culture Institute. The nonprofit, grassroots youth organization formally established Waniyetu Wowapi in 2016, seeking to give the community’s young people a wide variety of opportunities to learn contemporary and traditional arts, explore their creative interests, and express themselves in positive, healthy ways.
“We’re so grateful to the National Endowment for the Arts and ArtPlace America for their support,” says Jerica Widow, CRYP’s youth programs director. “There is no word for art in Lakota. Art is life. By engaging our children through the arts, we’re helping them strengthen their connections to their culture—to who they are.
“Through these camps, we’re also hoping to gauge the teens’ interest in future Art Internships here at Cokata Wiconi, and possibly even in a nine-month Lakota Arts Fellowship,” she continues. “The camps will give our kids a taste of what an internship might be like, as well as what will be required of them in terms of attendance, attitude, and successful completion.”
The Lakota Culture Camps are open to ages 13-18, and those who attend all 15 hours of their chosen camp will receive a stipend. Interested teens must sign up at Cokata Wiconi to reserve their places as spots are limited.
Star Quilt Design Pillows with Bonnie LeBeau
Oct. 12, 5-9 p.m. / Oct. 13, 10 a.m.-1 p.m.
Hand Drum Sticks with Austin Red Dog
Oct. 19, 5-9 p.m. / Oct. 20, 10 a.m.-4 p.m.
Storytelling Painting with Alexis Estes
Oct. 25 & Oct. 26, 5-8 p.m. each day / Oct. 27 & Oct. 28, 10 a.m.-3 p.m. each day
Moccasin Workshop with Jozee Campos
Nov. 2, 5-9 p.m. / Nov. 3 & Nov. 4, 10 a.m.-4 p.m. each day
Medicine Pouches & Storytelling with Ray Dupris
Nov. 9, 5-9 p.m. / Nov. 10, 10 a.m.-4 p.m.
Ribbon Skirts with Jolee Clark
Nov. 14-16, 4-9 p.m. each day (limit of five youth per day)
“We’re so honored to be working with these people,” Widow says of the featured guest instructors. “Not only are they wonderful, respected local artists, they really stepped up to help our youth learn. That means so much to us.”
To learn more about the Cheyenne River Youth Project and its programs, and for information about making donations and volunteering, call (605) 964-8200 or visit www.lakotayouth.org. And, to stay up to date on the latest CRYP news and events, follow the youth project on Facebook (/LakotaYouth), Twitter (@LakotaYouth) and Instagram (@waniyetuwowapi).
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.