2018 Writing & Art Challenge: Mní Wičhóni (Water is Life)

2018 Writing & Art Challenge: Mní Wičhóni (Water is Life)

Enter ONLINE HERE or submit your entry by email to info@lakotachildren.org and include in the memo line “2018 Entry”

**DEADLINE EXTENDED to March 5, 2018**

Respecting water is an important part of Lakota culture. In South Dakota and North Dakota, we face threats of water contamination from uranium mining, pipeline construction, and fracking. Over the course of the past year, Mní Wičhóni (Water is Life) has become the slogan for the movement against the construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline led by the Očhéthi šakówiŋ (the Great N/D/Lakota Nation). Water is essential to our health and wellness and to the health and wellness of our Grandmother Earth. This year, we invite youth from the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation to write and create art in response to “Mní Wičhóni,” water protection, and the movement for clean water for the Lakota Nation and the world.

In your submission, consider the following questions:

  • What does the phrase, Mní Wičhóni (Water is Life)” mean to you?
  • Are you a pipeline fighter? What does this movement mean to you?
  • What does it mean to be a water protector?
  • How does the phrase Mní Wičhóni inspire you?
  • What do you do to protect the water? What do you do to protect the Earth?

Make sure the entry conveys why you think it is important to protect water and the earth. Share your story!

Format: Write a poem or a spoken-word (new rule for this year-must be poetry/spoken-word!) in response to this year’s theme. Spoken word submissions are all acceptable and can be written in anyone’s voice–  get creative — video submissions are permitted but not required.

The following three age categories will be judged separately and anonymously:

  • Middle School: Grades 5 through 8; 700 word maximum: Grand prize $250
  • High School: Grades 9 through 12; 750 word maximum: Grand prize $350
  • Young Adult: Ages 17-24; 750 word maximum: Grand prize $350
  • Schools of the GRAND PRIZE WINNERS of the Writing Challenge will receive a $1,000 grant for materials for the school –only schools on the Pine Ridge Reservation are eligible for this award.

Format: Create an original drawing, painting or multimedia piece of art in response to this year’s theme— which conveys a message either through symbolism or words.

  • Digital copies may be submitted by email;
  • Entries may be drawn in colored pencil, pencil, pen or markers (make sure they are clear)
  • Materials used to create the entry are less important than the drawing itself and its message– look at last year’s winners to get an idea of the broad range of artistic expression!

The following two age categories will be judged separately and anonymously:

  • Young Artists: Ages 11-15: Grand Prize: $250
  • Experienced Artists: Ages 16-24: Grand Prize: $350

Entrants must be residents of Pine Ridge Reservation, and able to prove their residency to the satisfaction of the judges. Young Adults and Experienced Artists who reside on Pine Ridge Reservation and attend school full-time at schools off the reservation are eligible to enter. Young Adults and Experienced Artists who reside on Pine Ridge Reservation but are not enrolled in school are eligible and encouraged to apply!

All entries must be submitted electronically by 11:59 PM on March 5, 2018 to info@lakotachildren.org or through the ONLINE ENTRY FORM on our website. If entry is a video, then provide a link to your video, along will all other required information.

Runners Up may be awarded in any categories, at the judges’ discretion, and will be awarded $100 prizes.

All entries must be accompanied by multiple methods for contacting winners: email address of self, parents, teachers, phone numbers, etc. If do not hear back from you, then your prize will be given to someone else. Please see our ONLINE ENTRY FORM for all information which must be submitted with your entry.

By entering this Challenge, you represent that your entry is 100% your own original work and that you own all rights to the submitted materials. Once submitted, the poem, art work, audio and/or video will become the exclusive property of LCE. By entering, you grant LCE and anyone it may authorize permission to display your entry and biographical information. As a condition of entry, you irrevocably grant to LCE and their affiliates, legal representatives, assigns, agents and licensees a worldwide, royalty-free, non-exclusive, sublicensable, unconditional, perpetual and transferable right and license to use the entry in any manner, and entrants forfeit rights of privacy, intellectual property rights or other legal or moral rights that would preclude LCE from using the Contest Entry Material for promotional purposes and agree to never sue or assert any claim against the LCE’s use or distribution of those Materials. Any personal information supplied by entrant to YouTube or Vimeo will be subject to YouTube or Vimeo’s privacy policies.

If you are under 18 years old, a parent or guardian who has consented to the terms of this challenge must be identified in the entry, along with valid contact information for the consenting parent or guardian.


See our FAQ Post for frequently asked questions about the challenge

#MniWiconi #WaterisLife #NativeYouthVoices