The Cheyenne River Youth Project has announced that Lori High Elk is leading a “Wachinkichiya Circle” — a young women’s talking circle — every week at Cokata Wiconi (Center of Life) in Eagle Butte. Scheduled for 5-6 p.m. on Tuesdays, the talking circle is open free to young women ages 13-18.
The talking circle is a safe space where teens can learn to trust and depend on one another. High Elk will lead the young people in discussing a variety of topics that concern them.
“I want to help other women and young ladies, gain their trust, and let them know they can turn to other members in the community,” High Elk says. “I also want to share my journey—I went through a lot of things, but I came back from it all. They can do it too. I know it, and they just have to be reminded.”
According to CRYP Executive Director Julie Garreau, the Wachinkichiya Circle is a perfect fit for Cokata Wiconi, where each program is designed to help young people develop into strong, healthy, well-rounded individuals who will become their nation’s next generation of leaders and culture bearers. She says the circle’s focus on teen girls resonated with her.
“I recently heard the saying, ‘Each time women gather in circles with each other, the world heals a little more,’” she explains. “We share our ideas, tell our stories, and strengthen the connection we have to each other, our community and our Lakota culture. This is tremendously empowering, and we want to share that with our Cheyenne River youth.”
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.