The Cheyenne River Youth Project announced today that it has unveiled an online recommended reading list for those who are interested in learning more about Native cultures, history, traditions, and life ways. But that’s not all — visitors can purchase books directly through the website, donate books to CRYP’s Summer Reading program, and help support the development of its youth libraries.

CRYP partnered with Rapid City, South Dakota-based Word Carrier Trading Post and Bird Cage Book Store Mercantile to make this initiative possible. Bird Cage is the only Lakota woman-owned bookstore in South Dakota, and it’s one of only six Native-owned bookstores in the country.

“We’re grateful to owner Lily Mendoza for helping us make this vision a reality,” said Julie Garreau, CRYP’s executive director. “She is dedicated to providing access to books throughout the Great Plains, a mission we embrace as well. Together, we hope to expand this access far beyond our region, supporting youth literacy in the process.”

An enrolled member of the Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe, Mendoza is a mother, grandmother, and community activist. Word Carrier Trading Post is her traveling bookstore; it hosts Native American book fairs at schools, colleges, and community organizations like CRYP.

Interested readers can access the list of recommended titles at https://lakotayouth.org/lakota-culture/recommended-reading. Each book is linked directly to the Word Carrier’s online store. 

“We’re excited to offer this bookselling service to our supporters across the country, especially because you also can help CRYP when you purchase books,” Garreau said. “Word Carrier will donate 10 percent of each sale to CRYP, and we will put all of these funds toward the continued development of our youth and teen libraries at The Main and the Cokata Wiconi (Center of Life) teen center. Just put ‘CRYP’ in the Add a Note box at checkout.” 

Garreau also noted that supporters can purchase additional titles from the “Kids and Young Adult Books” section and donate them to CRYP for youth programming. Simply write “Summer Reading Program” and the names of the donated books in the Add a Note box at checkout, and Word Carrier will send the books to CRYP’s Eagle Butte campus. All donors will receive receipts for these tax-deductible donations.

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, Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube.

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.