In conjunction with the First Peoples Fund, the Cheyenne River Youth Project is now offering an Emerging Poets Fellowship for Lakota youth ages 13-18 on the Cheyenne River Sioux Reservation. Open for applications until July, the program will officially launch in September.
This innovative one-year fellowship will give teens valuable poetry, leadership and development training, which also includes specific life skills such as learning how to open a bank account, how to create a resume, and how to write an effective cover letter. Teens will build their own chapbook anthologies, and they will receive both a letter of recommendation and a $500 stipend upon completion of the program.
“The fellowship isn’t that different from our teen internships,” says Jerica Widow, CRYP’s youth programs director. “It simply provides yet another way for us to offer new opportunities to our teens, and invite them to explore yet another creative outlet as they express themselves in a positive, healthy, safe space.”
According to Widow, the First Peoples Fund and CRYP are conducting this Emerging Poets Fellowship as a pilot program. She says the hope is that they can eventually build regional chapters with regular programming and activities.
“They’re working very closely with us,” she says. “We want to see, based on the success of this fellowship, if we might be able to create something more permanent for our young people.”
“We would love to see more programs like this in Indian Country,” says Julie Garreau, CRYP’s executive director. “Our oral traditions have deep cultural and historical significance, and we want to find new and innovative ways to strengthen the connection our young people have with those traditions. There is real, transformative power in poetry and the spoken word.”
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.