Published May 5, 2018
Special Mother’s Day celebration is a highlight of CRYP’s Waniyetu Wowapi (Winter Count) Performing Art Series, made possible by NEA Art Works.
EAGLE BUTTE, SOUTH DAKOTA — As part of its ongoing Waniyetu Wowapi Performing Art Series this spring, the Cheyenne River Youth Project is preparing to welcome Mylo Smith Jr. and Nataanii Means to its Waniyetu Wowapi Art Park on Sunday, May 13. This special Mother’s Day performance is scheduled for 12-4 p.m. and is open free to the public.
Smith (Crow Creek Sioux Tribe) has been a comedian since 2006, when he made his debut to a crowd of 14 in Rosebud, South Dakota. Over the years, he had the opportunity to learn from his mentor, native comedian JR Redwater; travel throughout the country; and place third out of 60 in a Hollywood comedy competition.
Considered one of the top native comedians performing today, and known for his witty crowd interaction and physical style of performing, Smith also works as a motivational speaker. His wellness curriculum covers drugs, alcohol, domestic violence and suicide prevention, and he draws on his own life experience to connect with his audiences.
Means (Oglala Lakota, Omaha, Diné) is a talented hip-hop artist. He attended the Institute for American Indian Arts in Santa Fe, where he majored in filmmaking; these days, he performs across the United States as well as in Canada and Europe. He starred in MTV’s “Rebel Music: Native America Series, Viceland: Standing Rock Pt. II” and has appeared in Billboard and The Fadermagazines.
Aside from music, Means is an indigenous rights, human rights and environmental advocate, frequently helping organizations fight oil companies, fracking initiatives and other extraction projects that affect indigenous —and all—communities. He also works in youth suicide prevention on reservations across North America.
“We are thrilled to welcome Mylo and Nataanii to our Eagle Butte campus for this performance, which truly is a highlight of our spring calendar,” said Jerica Widow, CRYP’s youth programs director. “This will be a memorable day to celebrate our Inas with family and friends.”
Part of that celebration will include a special presentation. For the last several weeks, Cheyenne River’s children have been busy creating a special gift for their mothers: a painted pot, with a growing plant inside.
“To honor the women who gave them life, the children have each designed and painted their own pot, carefully planted a seedling, and wrapped the gift for Mother’s Day,” Widow explained. “They’re so excited for the big day.”
CRYP officially launched its Waniyetu Wowapi Performing Art Series in early April, and its regularly scheduled events continue through the end of this month. The family-friendly series, made possible with funding from NEA Art Works, incorporates popular films, live performances, a youth wacipi and a handgame tournament in the nonprofit youth organization’s public Waniyetu Wowapi Art Park, as well as Midnight Basketball in the Cokata Wiconi (Center of Life) gymnasium.
Upcoming events in the Spring 2018 Waniyetu Wowapi Performing Art Series:
Sunday, May 13
Mother’s Day Celebration, 12-4 p.m.
**Special community day in the art park includes performances from Mylo Smith Jr. and Nataanii Means.
Friday, May 25
Concert with Prolific, Gunner Krogman & Let It Bee, 7 p.m.-12 a.m.
Midnight Basketball Summer Kickoff, 9 p.m.-1 a.m.
Every Thursday in May
Family Movie Night, 6-8 p.m.: Kids’ Choice!
**Movies will be shown on giant outdoor screen in the art park, weather permitting.