Each year, the Cheyenne River Youth Project hosts a star quilt raffle to help support its annual Wo Otúh’an Wi Toy Drive. Every raffle ticket purchase will help bring holiday joy and magic to hundreds of Lakota children on the Cheyenne River Sioux Reservation later this month.

Nearly three weeks remain in this year’s raffle, which runs through 12 p.m. Mountain time on Thursday, Dec. 29. CRYP staff will announce the lucky winner via Facebook Live on Friday, Dec. 30. 

Not only does the star quilt raffle raise funds for the nonprofit youth organization’s longest-running and most beloved program, it shines a spotlight on a traditional Lakota art — and on an acclaimed Cheyenne River artist. This year’s quilt, called ‘Winter Sunrise,’ was hand-crafted by tribal member Bonnie LeBeaux.

“This year’s quilt reflects the gentle, otherworldly hues of winter sunrise in the heart of our Great Plains homelands,” said Julie Garreau, CRYP’s executive director. “We look forward to showcasing Bonnie’s beautiful work every year. For Lakota people, art isn’t just art. It’s our culture, it’s our life, it’s a fundamental part of who we are. And there is no better way to share our culture with others than through our traditional Lakota art.” 

For the Lakota, Dakota, and Nakota peoples of the Oceti Sakowin Oyate, the Seven Council Fires, star quilts are valued gifts given to commemorate special occasions. The star pattern comes from early buffalo robe designs.

Funds raised through raffle ticket sales will directly benefit CRYP’s Wo Otúh’an Wi Toy Drive, which began in 1990 and now serves more than 1,000 children in 20 communities across the 2.8-million-acre reservation. Wo Otúh’an Wi means “Moon of Giving Away Presents” in the Lakota language.

“At its heart, our toy drive has always been about generosity and caring for others, which our deeply held Lakota values,” Garreau said. “Our toy drive is one more way in which we live Wólakȟota, in keeping with our sacred way of life, so our relatives may thrive.

Garreau noted that the public can assist with the star quilt raffle in four ways. Supporters may buy tickets, offer to sell tickets, help spread the word by telling family and friends, and share raffle details through social media..

Tickets are $1 each or $5 for a six-ticket packet. To purchase tickets, send cash, checks or money orders to: Cheyenne River Youth Project, Attn: Star Quilt, 702 4th St., P.O. Box 410, Eagle Butte, SD 57625. You also may pay online at www.lakotayouth.org/win-a-star-quilt.

To sell tickets, please call (605) 964-8200 or send an email to Garreau at julie.cryp@gmail.com. She will send as many tickets as you request; they come in books of six. Once you receive your tickets, along a quilt photo and information sheet, you will be responsible for selling those tickets. All tickets need to be turned in by Dec. 29 so CRYP can conduct the drawing as planned and make the official announcement on Dec. 30.

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 is dedicated to giving our Lakota youth and families access to the culturally relevant, enriching, and enduring opportunities we need to build stronger, healthier communities and a more vibrant future together.