All of us at CRYP are deeply grateful for the opportunities we have to engage with our children here on the Cheyenne River Lakota Nation. Despite the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic, we have found creative ways to continue our teen internships, for example; that means the world to us, and it’s critical for our young people. 

X’zander Norris, 14, is one of our teen interns. He grew up in Eagle Butte, and to date, he has completed CRYP’s Native Food Sovereignty, Native Wellness, and Social Enterprise internships. He says the internships were a good fit for him.

“My mom told me about them,” he recalls. “She said I could work for about a month, and get paid. I liked that — plus, I love to work out, and I love food!”

X’zander is part of our current Native Wellness internship cohort. As they pursue their physical fitness goals together, he says he takes pride in being responsible for his co-workers safety as well as his own, and he enjoys the camaraderie between interns and staff.

“I like talking with everyone,” he explains. 

X’zander says he feels CRYP is an important part of the Cheyenne River community because it focuses on kids, and gives them access to new educational and recreational opportunities. He says he’s proud of his participation in the teen internships.

He’s also proud of his community. When asked why he thinks Cheyenne River is special, he carefully considers his response. 

“Healthy food, and healthy lifestyles,” he says. After a pause, he adds, “Our people.”

When he’s not working and learning at CRYP, X’zander enjoys running, and he’s looking forward to military service after high school.