The Cheyenne River Youth Project has announced the three winners of its “Cheyenne River Fights Covid-19” Art Contest. The youth art contest took place in May.

Tusweca Mendoza, 14, won first place (his artwork is pictured above) and a cash award of $300. Angel Benson came in second with a cash award of $200. And Mahpiya Eagle Hunter, 8, was third with a cash award of $100. To see all three pieces, visit our Facebook community.

The judges recognized these three young artists based on their creativity/originality, connection to the theme, and artistic skills. They were allowed to create their work in any medium.

According to Tyler Read, CRYP’s art director, the CRYP team created the contest to give the Cheyenne River Sioux Reservation’s young people an opportunity to share how they, their families, and their community are fighting Covid-19 — both physically and spiritually, and otherwise. He said they instructed the artists to search their imaginations and explore their own voices, because their unique perspectives matter.

“We wanted them to consider what it looks like to fight an invisible enemy, and to keep both body and spirit well while facing that enemy,” Read said. “We encouraged them to reflect on the importance of their Lakota culture during such a challenging time, and consider how the strength of their ancestors could help them in this fight.

“They did all of that, 100 percent,” observed Julie Garreau, CRYP’s executive director. “Our kids are the future of Cheyenne River. They know who they are, they’re proud of who they are, and they’re ready to show the world how we do things in the heart of the Lakota Nation.”

Those who wish to support CRYP’s Covid-19 programs and services can make online contributions by visiting, and clicking “Covid-19 Relief Fund.” Call the offices at (605) 963-8200 or visit for more information. 

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.