Cheyenne River Youth Project Will Host Three New Lakota Culture Camps This Spring Through its Waniyetu Wowapi Lakota Youth Arts & Culture Institute

Guest art instructor Ray Dupris works with students in CRYP’s Cokata Wiconi (Center of Life) art studio.

Published March 24, 2019

EAGLE BUTTE, S.D. — This spring, the Cheyenne River Youth Project will host three 15-hour Lakota Culture Camps through its new Waniyetu Wowapi (Winter Count) Lakota Youth Arts & Culture Institute. Open to youth ages 13-18, the camps are made possible through grants from NEA ArtWorks, ArtPlace America, South Dakota Arts Council and TECA.
CRYP’s Lakota Culture Camps gave Cheyenne River teens the opportunity to learn a variety of traditional Lakota arts, with accomplished native artists serving as guest instructors. During this spring session, young people will learn “Medicine Pouches and Storytelling” with Ray Dupris on Mar. 27-29, “The Basics of Moccasin Making” with Jozee Campos on Mar. 29-31, and “The Art & History of Bags” with Gina Still Smoking on Apr. 12-14.
In addition to exploring this vibrant assortment of traditional Lakota arts, the teens also will receive stipends for completing all 15 hours of their chosen camps. Spots are limited, so CRYP is encouraging interested participants to call (605) 964-8200 to register as soon as possible. A completed W-9 form must be on file for each participant when classes begin.

Cheyenne River art students who completed Jozee Campos’ moccasin-making camp last fall.

“We’re looking forward to welcoming our next group of young Lakota artists to the culture camps,” says Jerica Widow, CRYP’s youth programs director. “Not only will they be strengthening their connections to Lakota culture and expressing their creativity, they’ll be able to explore their artistic interests and voice. For many camp participants, this exploration can lead to a full arts internship here at Cokata Wiconi (Center of Life).

“We’re grateful to our guest instructors, who are so generous with their time and expertise,” she continues. “We’re honored that they are joining with us to provide our youth with access to an arts education here on Cheyenne River.” 
Indeed, the Lakota Culture Camps provide a taste of the creative experiences the teens can have as arts interns. They also emphasize what is required of all CRYP teen interns in terms of attendance, attitude, and successful completion.
Other CRYP teen internship programs include social enterprise, native food sovereignty, native wellness and indigenous cooking. The art internships are unique in that they fall underneath the Waniyetu Wowapi umbrella. CRYP formally established this innovative arts and culture institute in 2016, seeking to give the community’s young people a wide variety of opportunities to learn contemporary and traditional arts, explore their creative interests, and express themselves in positive, healthy ways.
The institute’s structure allows CRYP to bring in a variety of guest instructors throughout the year, from world-class graffiti and street artists, to fine-art specialists, to experienced Lakota artists and craftspeople.
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 (@waniyetuwowapi).

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