(Youth Make Their Voices Heard)
The Cheyenne River Youth Project’s Youth Advisory Council advises the CRYP Board of Directors and staff about what young people would like to see in terms of programming at CRYP’s Eagle Butte campus. Council members also take leadership roles in organizing special youth events and community activities. Current council members include (L-R, pictured below): Nation Cowins, Natalie Marshall, Braylee Dog Eagle, Sheridan Miner and Wambli Gleska Quintana.
Nation discovered CRYP in March 2020 and immediately got involved in the internship program, completing the Native Wellness, Native Food Sovereignty, Indigenous Foods & Cooking and Art internship tracks. He still enjoys working in our Winyan Toka Win (Leading Lady) Garden and frequently steps in to teach the Lakota language to our current interns.
In January 2022, Nation joined the CRYP staff as our first programs assistant trainee. He says he’s grateful to have the youth project as a resource on the Cheyenne River Sioux Reservation, because he feels CRYP provides the opportunities and mentorships teens need to pursue their education and careers after high school.
When he’s not at CRYP, Nation enjoys beading, cooking, sewing, making moccasins, and caring for his animals. This thoughtful, hard-working young man also takes an active role in caring for his nine younger siblings.
Braylee Dog Eagle
Braylee is active at Cheyenne-Eagle Butte High School, where he is a member of the National Honor Society, plays football, and recently was chosen for the “Close Up” program. He also is a champion archer. Every year, he competes at a variety of tournaments across the state; he has advanced to nationals every year since the 4th grade, and he has competed at the world-championship level twice.
Braylee says he wants to push himself to grow mentally and physically, and he wants to see his community grow in positive ways. He would like to help fix the C-EB track and field, because he recognizes that his peers have so much athletic potential. He cares deeply about cleaning up the community — and helping those who are experiencing homelessness.
The staff at his school recommended him for CRYP’s youth advisory council, noting that he takes the initiative to make things better, such as cleaning up trash in the bleachers without being asked to do so. Braylee also has joined CRYP as one of our programs assistant trainees.
When Braylee speaks, his peers listen, and he has a sense of humor that brings people together. He says his greatest role models are his mom, his sister, and Wakinyan Chief, CRYP’s art manager.
Natalie enjoys art, creative writing, and learning about animation, storyboarding and development of shows. While she’s not sure yet if she wants to be a politician, lawyer or writer, she does know that she wants to find ways to fund things the community needs, including law enforcement, investigative work, education and healthcare.
Natalie says she wants to see Natives and women everywhere get the rights they deserve. She cares deeply about social issues, including LGBTQ+ inclusivity and human rights. Her inspirations are her mom, Mitski, her school teachers, CRYP Art Manager Wakinyan Chief, and “every woman out there who uses their voice.”
Natalie is curious, artistic, courageous and compassionate. She also makes keen observations of the world, noticing things others often ignore.
Sheridan hopes to graduate a year early and study nursing at the University of South Dakota, so she is currently working hard at Cheyenne-Eagle Butte High School. She loves math and playing volleyball, and she’s participating in Advancement via Individual Determination (AVID), a nonprofit college-readiness program. When she’s not busy at school or at CRYP, she enjoys shopping, hanging out with family, and spending time outside.
A big supporter of Cheyenne-Eagle Butte athletics, Sheridan often helps to film basketball games. She cares deeply about improving mental health among young people and fighting against substance abuse. School staff recommended her for the youth advisory council position due to her demonstrated leadership among her peers.
Sheridan is organized, responsible, thoughtful and fun to be around. She has a great sense of humor and has a kind, patient, generous and strong character.
Wambli Gleska Quintana
A junior at Dupree High School, Wambli is a member of the National Honor Society, competed at the Northwest Area Schools Academic Olympics, and is involved with the American Indian Science and Engineering Society. He loves to code, video edit, listen to podcasts, read, make tea and cook fun meals.
Wambli says he hopes to forge a clear pathway for the youth of his community, believing that the key to a prosperous future for the community lies with the youth. His role models are “all of the inspiring people I have met so far in my lifetime, but one who I hold in the highest regard is my grandma, Bernadine Little Thunder.”
Not daunted by difficult tasks, Wambli is passionate about creating long-lasting change in Eagle Butte and has a variety of ideas about how to improve the community, including expanding jobs in the sustainable energy sector. In addition to serving on the youth advisory council, Wambli also is one of our programs assistant trainees. He is curious, engaged, brave, and wise beyond his years.