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Yearly Archives: 2016

  • Toy Drive 9
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    It’s Not Too Late: Help CRYP Fulfill Remaining 400+ Dear Santa Letters Before Christmas!

It’s Not Too Late: Help CRYP Fulfill Remaining 400+ Dear Santa Letters Before Christmas!

CRYP is reaching out to its supporters and friends this week in a final push to bring Santa Claus to more than 1,600 children on South Dakota’s remote, 2.8-million-acre Cheyenne River Lakota reservation. According to Julie Garreau, CRYP’s executive director, more than 400 “Dear Santa” letters remain to be adopted—with just five days left until Christmas.

Already, volunteers from across the United States and as far away as Ireland are converging on Santa’s Workshop at CRYP to sort and wrap thousands of gifts. These dedicated helpers work around the clock to ensure that each child will receive two or three gifts from his or her personal letter, as well as much-needed winter clothing and shoes.

The good news is that it’s not too late to help.

“At this point in December, there’s no question that donations are down over previous years,” Garreau said. “That being said, we know from experience that incredible things can happen in the last few days before the holiday.

“Supporters absolutely can contact us to adopt letters, if they would like to fulfill the children’s Christmas wishes and send the gifts to our campus in Eagle Butte,” she continued. “If it’s easier, however, simply click the ‘Donate’ button on our website and make an online contribution. It’s fully tax deductible, and we’ll do the shopping on our end to make sure all the children who wrote letters to Santa have the happy, joyful Christmas they so richly deserve.”

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Coming in 2017: The Waniyetu Wowapi Lakota Arts Institute

The Cheyenne River Youth Project’s eagerly anticipated Waniyetu Wowapi (Winter Count) Lakota Arts Institute will fully take shape in the new year, thanks to just-announced funding from ArtPlace America’s 2016 National Creative Placemaking Fund. The nonprofit, grassroots youth organization is one of just 29 projects chosen, from a field of nearly 1,400 applicants.

ArtPlace America’s National Creative Placemaking Fund is a highly competitive national program —funding 2 percent of initial applications—that invests money in communities across the country in which artists, arts organizations, and arts and culture activity will help drive community development change in the sectors of agriculture and food; economic development; education and youth; environment and energy; health, housing; immigration; public safety; transportation; or workforce development.

“Creative Placemaking seeks the full and robust integration of arts, culture, and community-engaged design into the decisions that define the ebb and flow of community life. These grant recipients embody what this looks like at its most effective best,” said Rip Rapson, president and CEO of The Kresge Foundation and chair of the ArtPlace President’s Council. “The sheer volume of applications for these grants suggests the growing updraft of creative placemaking efforts throughout the nation.”

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  • Santa Hugs
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    Less Than Three Weeks Remain to Help CRYP Bring Santa to Cheyenne River

Less Than Three Weeks Remain to Help CRYP Bring Santa to Cheyenne River

Less than three weeks remain before Christmas Eve and the arrival of Santa Claus on the Cheyenne River Lakota reservation. More than 1,600 children are eagerly awaiting his sleigh, hoping to receive the special gifts they shared with him in their Dear Santa letters.

Bringing Christmas to hundreds of families in 20 communities across the remote, 2.8-million reservation is a massive undertaking. It’s a lot of gifts. But the toy drive is about so much more than that. For too many Cheyenne River families, household budgets simply cannot stretch to cover winter clothes, much less holiday gifts and all the seasonal trimmings and trappings. That can take its toll on children here, who don’t understand why Christmas magic seems to belong to so many others, but not to them.

Tammy Eagle Hunter, CRYP’s youth programs director, recalled witnessing a little boy turn down the opportunity to tell Santa Claus what he wanted for Christmas.

“He said, ‘Why should I? I’m not going to get it anyway. I ask for it every year,’” she said. “That broke my heart, to see a child without hope—to see him discount the possibility that he might receive something precious to him, and that he might experience a heartfelt wish coming true. That’s why we work so hard at CRYP during the holiday season. Our children often have to grow up way too fast due to circumstances beyond their control. On Christmas, at least for one day, they should get to celebrate the joy of just being a kid.”

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  • Elf Party - Demi Beautiful Bald Eagle
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    CRYP Will Host Annual Youth and Teen Christmas Parties on Dec. 5-6

CRYP Will Host Annual Youth and Teen Christmas Parties on Dec. 5-6

Next week, the Cheyenne River Youth Project will host its annual Christmas parties at The Main youth center and the Cokata Wiconi (Center of Life) teen center in Eagle Butte, South Dakota. Children ages 4 to 12 are welcome to attend festivities at The Main on Monday, Dec. 5, and teens ages 13-18 are invited to the Cokata Wiconi bash on Tuesday, Dec. 6.

CRYP staff chose the theme “The Night Before Christmas” for the children’s party, which runs from 4:30 to 7:30 p.m. on Dec. 5. Guests will enjoy a dinner of chicken noodle soup with cake for dessert, a variety of games and activities, a coloring contest, and seasonal treats such as candy bags, hot chocolate with marshmallows, Grinch punch and holiday “puppy chow.”

The next night, teens will converge on Cokata Wiconi for their party, which is scheduled from 6 to 9 p.m. In addition to featuring a movie and dinner, this sports-themed extravaganza will include a basketball three-on-three tournament and three-point content, a ping pong tournament, and a foosball tournament.

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  • National Parks 1-Crazy Horse
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    Cheyenne River Teens Travel to Crazy Horse and Badlands with CRYP

Cheyenne River Teens Travel to Crazy Horse and Badlands with CRYP

This year, teens from South Dakota’s Cheyenne River reservation have had the opportunity to visit sites of major significance to the Lakota Nation with the Cheyenne River Youth Project®. In August, they visited Bear Butte (Mahto Paha) State Park and Devil’s Tower (Mahto Tipila) National Monument, and more recently, they traveled to the Crazy Horse Memorial in the Black Hills and Badlands National Park.

The trips were made possible with funding from the National Park Service “Visiting Our Past” Transportation Grant. The grant was made available to native nonprofit youth organizations so they could pursue initiatives that would connect young people to the places of their ancestors and introduce them to the work of the National Park Service, and NPS staff worked closely with CRYP to plan the youth visits.

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Art Interns Learn Traditional Lakota Arts This Fall

This fall, interns at the Cheyenne River Youth Project® had the opportunity to learn traditional Lakota arts at the nonprofit organization’s Cokata Wiconi (Center of Life) teen center. Classes, which included hide tanning and jewelry making, were made possible through a First Nations Youth & Culture Fund grant from the First Nations Development Institute.

Thirteen teen interns attended the hide-tanning class. On the first day, they scraped a deer hide to remove all the fur, boiled the brains, and learned the process of brain tanning. The next day, they scraped the brains off the deer hide, and then they rubbed and worked the hide until it was soft.

Nineteen interns attended the jewelry-making class. They painted on buckskin and learned to fashion the material into bracelets, necklaces and rings.

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November Hall of Fame: Brenton Veit

Fifteen-year-old Brenton Veit might have originally signed up for a teen internship at the Cheyenne River Youth Project to earn a little extra money, but he ended up taking home much more than his stipend.

Brenton has attended CRYP programs since he was in sixth grade, taking advantage of the opportunity to get out of the house and spend time with staff, volunteers and friends. Open gym has always been a huge draw, but that’s not what makes the youth project special, in his opinion.

“It’s the way they treat us,” he reflects. “I can just be myself when I’m there.”

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  • Trees
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    Coming Up: Holiday Artists’ Market and “Festival of Trees” on November 20!

Coming Up: Holiday Artists’ Market and “Festival of Trees” on November 20!

On Sunday, November 20, the Cheyenne River Youth Project® will open the doors to its Cokata Wiconi (“Center of Life”) teen center for a very special annual event: the Holiday Artists’ Market. For the sixth consecutive year, the nonprofit youth organization will host community artisans, craftspeople, chefs and bakers as they make their wares available to the public in festive holiday environment.

What’s more, the Holiday Artists’ Market officially will kick off CRYP’s annual “Festival of Trees.” Up to 30 organizations are welcome to decorate holiday trees at Cokata Wiconi; the trees will remain on display throughout the holiday season.

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  • Prairie Winter Star Quilt 2016
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    Enter to Win Lakota Star Quilt & Support Our Christmas Toy Drive

Enter to Win Lakota Star Quilt & Support Our Christmas Toy Drive

To celebrate the spirit of the season, and continue to raise much-needed funds so it can bring Christmas cheer to more than 1,600 children this year, the Cheyenne River Youth Project® is hosting a Winter Star Quilt Raffle. Tickets are on sale until the end of the day on Friday, December 23, and on Monday, December 26, CRYP staff will announce the lucky winner who will be receiving a handmade, queen-size Lakota star quilt.

Bonnie LeBeau, a Cheyenne River Sioux tribal member, hand-crafted the seasonally inspired quilt, which has been named “Prairie Winter.” According to Julie Garreau, CRYP’s executive director, all funds raised through the raffle will benefit the annual Christmas Toy Drive, one of the nonprofit youth project’s longest-running and most important programs.

“We’re hoping to raise $3,000 in this year’s star quilt raffle,” Garreau said. “Those funds will go directly to our toy drive, which serves more than 1,600 children ages 4 to 18 in communities across our 2.8-million-acre reservation.”

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  • RedCan-2016-8425
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    CRYP Introduces an Indigenous Arts “Rezolution” with New RedCan Documentary

CRYP Introduces an Indigenous Arts “Rezolution” with New RedCan Documentary

The Cheyenne River Youth Project® has just released its eagerly anticipated RedCan graffiti jam documentary. Available to the public on the youth project’s YouTube channel and through its Facebook page, the approximately nine-minute video introduces audiences to RedCan, its featured artists, CRYP’s Waniyetu Wowapi (“Winter Count”) Art Park, and the Cheyenne River Lakota Nation.

Perhaps even more importantly, the documentary introduces viewers to Cheyenne River’s children—and the critical role RedCan plays in their lives.

“Ever since we founded RedCan in 2015, we’ve recognized that it’s so much more than a graffiti jam,” said Julie Garreau, CRYP’s executive director. “We’re proud that we created an unprecedented way for graffiti culture and Lakota culture to come together, but as we experienced the first RedCan and then saw the second one completely eclipse the first in terms of outreach and impact, we realized that what we really created is a revolution.”

That revolution also is what Garreau called a “rezolution.” Not only does RedCan expose Cheyenne River’s young people to what has become the largest and longest-running art movement in human history, it encourages them to explore their own unique identities, find their voices, share their stories and truths, and find positive, healthy means of self-expression.

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