In the final weeks of summer break, the Cheyenne River Youth Project is providing young people with new opportunities to explore Lakota culture and the arts. The nonprofit youth organization recently hosted a Lakota Culture Day Camp and culture/art workshops, and this week, RedCan 2021 artist Tsel is on campus to work with CRYP’s teen art interns and lead a public class.

“We’re deeply grateful to the many partners and community members who have helped bring all of these classes and workshops to life,” said Jerica Widow, CRYP’s youth programs director. “Their willingness to share their time and expertise is priceless. With their guidance, our kids are deepening their connection to culture, exploring new mediums, and opening their eyes to new ideas and possibilities.

“We’re also thankful to the Native American Agriculture Fund, Nike’s N7 Fund, and the Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe’s TECA funding,” she added. “Their dedication to Native wellness and arts programming in Indian Country made these programs possible.”

The Lakota Culture Day Camp took place on Thursday, July 29. The 100 Horse Society led an indigenous cooking lesson, Lori High Elk taught participants about traditional tobacco and sage, Emanuel Red Bear taught a Lakota class, and Dewey Bad Warrior led a class in traditional Lakota hand games (pictured here). 

Next, on Monday and Tuesday, Aug. 9-10, young people gathered at CRYP’s “The Main” youth center to make homemade haípažaža (soap) and homemade mnaíkte (deodorant) with all natural materials.

“Our phenomenal Lakota youth at the Cheyenne River Youth Project make me so happy,” said instructor and local artist Dawn E. LeBeau. “Philámayeye to Youth Programs Director Jerica Widow for coordinating this, and to our young relatives for the uplifting energy.” 

This week, Aug. 15-21, RedCan artist Tsel is on campus to provide art instruction to CRYP’s current cohort of art interns, and he will hold an open class for the public as well. Although he was born in Mexico, Tsel grew up in Chicago’s Uptown community and remains a resident of the Windy City. An expert in street art and Aztec cultural imagery, he has taught art in several high schools, and his mixed-media designs and creations have appeared in Chicago galleries and in the National Museum of Mexican Art. 

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 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.