The Cheyenne River Youth Project announced this week that it is officially postponing RedCan 2020, the sixth annual invitational graffiti jam on South Dakota’s Cheyenne River Sioux Reservation. At press time, the nonprofit youth organization is considering new dates in August.
The eagerly anticipated RedCan event typically is held in late June. With Covid-19’s confirmed arrival on the remote Great Plains reservation three weeks ago, the need to postpone became clear.
“Our ongoing situation with Covid-19 blindsided us in a way we never could have imagined,” said Julie Garreau, CRYP’s executive director. “Life as we understood it has changed; however, our dedication to serving our young people stands, unwavering, and we will not surrender the progress we have made when our youth turn to us for both reassurance and hope.
“We are a rock for them in an uncertain time, when they need a steady foundation more than ever,” she continued. “We will adapt, and we will remind them that they, and our Lakota Nation, will do more than survive. We will make it through this together, and we will thrive.”
Based on the available data, active cases of Covid-19 are expected to peak in South Dakota in mid-June. Garreau said she hopes that the Cheyenne River community will be able to recover, regroup, and set a new course in July.
“If that happens, we’ll be ready in August to welcome everyone in bold fashion with RedCan 2020,” she said. “This year’s festival will be immensely important. Each year, RedCan lifts up our community — its sense of pride and belonging, and its spirit. After this trauma, our people will need to come together in this way, to celebrate our culture, our stories, our voices, and our connections to our ancestors.”
The CRYP team is reviewing several options for August dates and will share more information in the weeks to come. Garreau also noted that the organization will adapt all aspects of the RedCan event to ensure that it adheres to recommended health and safety guidelines.
“We will take every precaution,” she said. “We will help keep our young people and our community safe while continuing to serve them. It will require additional planning, and extra coordination with all participants, but we will be prepared for the event. What’s more, we will be prepared for an event that is stronger and more powerful than its predecessors.”
For information about RedCan, and to watch the 2019 RedCan documentary film, please visit www.lakotayouth.org/redcan; you’ll also be able to view video documentaries and photo galleries from previous years, bios for featured artists and special guests, and more.
To learn more about the Cheyenne River Youth Project and its programs, and for information about making donations and volunteering, call (605) 964-8200. And, to stay up to date on the latest CRYP news and events, follow the youth project on Facebook (/LakotaYouth), Twitter (@LakotaYouth) and Instagram (@lakotayouth and @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.