The Cheyenne River Youth Project announced today that is welcoming seven teens to its first youth advisory council. Called Tȟeča Hótȟaŋiŋpi (Youth Make Their Voices Heard), the new council will advise the CRYP Board of Directors and staff about what young people would like to see in terms of programming and activities at CRYP’s Eagle Butte campus.
Council members include Nation Cowins, 15; Braylee Dog Eagle, 17; Clarence Lawrence, 16; Levi Elk Nation, 15; Natalie Marshall, 13; Sheridan Miner, 14; and Wambli Gleska Quintana, 17. In the months to come, these teens will pursue a leadership journey that is deeply grounded in Lakota culture.
“In addition to serving as trusted advisors, these young people also will safeguard and uphold our Lakota values, acting as role models and mentors for their peers,” Garreau said. “They will demonstrate how to be a good relative and live wólakhota, in keeping with our people’s sacred way of life.
“Each youth council member also will be responsible for 20 volunteer hours at CRYP, which means they’ll be assisting with fundraising, community distributions, special events, and even youth programming at The Main, our center for 4- to 12-year-olds,” she added.
The seven teens are expected to maintain a 2.0 or better grade point average, attend school regularly, attend each council gathering prepared to engage, and represent CRYP and Cheyenne River on field trips.
Their first trip as a council is this month. On Feb. 19-24, Garreau, Art Manager Wakinyan Chief and Internship Manager Morgan Robinson will be taking the teens on to Washington, D.C. Nation Cowins is attending both as a youth council member and as CRYP’s first programs assistant trainee, a position he has held for more than a year.
During their stay, the youth council members will have an opportunity to connect with CNAY representatives and visit The Aspen Institute. They will see iconic landmarks such as the U.S. Capitol and the White House.
They will visit the U.S. Department of Treasury and meet Chief Mutáwi Mutáhash (Many Hearts) Marilynn “Lynn” Malerba, the 18th chief of the Mohegan Tribe. She is the first female chief in the tribe’s modern history; she also is the first Native person to serve as Treasurer of the United States.
The teens also will attend the 2023 State of Indian Nations, hosted by the National Congress of American Indians at the National Museum of the American Indian. They will participate in a Hill Day / White House Roundtable, meeting with members of Congress and Congressional staff to discuss priorities and build connections.
What’s more, they will spend time at the NCAI General Assembly and participate in policy strategy and advocacy training. This will include brainstorming a possible legislative initiative to present to Rep. Gabriel Vasquez (D-NM) and Rep. Mary Sattler Peltola (D-AK).
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.