Meet the 2018 Writing and Art Challenge judges!

Lakota Children’s Enrichment proudly introduces the 2018 panel of Judges (in alphabetical order)!

Check out the Official Rules, print out a Flyer and then start writing and/or drawing. Deadline for the Art and Writing challenge is March 5th, 2018 by Electronic Submission or email to

But first, are you in the process of writing a novel for children? Writing for a young audience can be challenging. For some writing inspiration, take a look at this useful article from Jericho Writers. Above all, from setting a word count, to establishing a clear plot and formulating well-developed characters, creating a novel for children is a creative process that should be enjoyed.

peter-balakianPeter Balakian — Writing Judge

Peter Balakian is a poet and nonfiction writer, and is the Donald M. and Constance H. Rebar Professor of the Humanities in the department of English and the Director of Creative Writing at Colgate University in Hamilton, NY. This is Peter’s fourth year serving as a judge for the Writing Challenge.

Peter is the author of seven books of poems, most recently Ozone Journal which won the Pulitzer Prize for poetry. His other books include the memoir Black Dog of Fate, winner of the PEN/Albrand Prize for memoir and a New York Times Notable Book, and The Burning Tigris: The Armenian Genocide and America’s Response, winner of the 2005 Raphael Lemkin Prize and a New York Times Notable Book and New York Times and national best seller.

Balakian is the recipient of many awards and prizes and civic citations, including the Alice and Clifford Spendlove Prize in Social Justice, Diplomacy and Tolerance, 2012; a Guggenheim Fellowship, a National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship. Balakian’s work has been translated into many languages and he has appeared widely on national television and radio programs including 60 Minutes, ABC World News Tonight, Charlie Rose, and Fresh Air.

Charli Fool Bear — Writing Judge

Charli Fool Bear is a Yanktonai Dakota playwright, musician, actor, and theater artist from the Standing Rock reservation in North Dakota. She is currently a student at Dartmouth College, where she has performed in and written for several theatrical productions. Her play The Crickets Ate the Moon was the runner-up of the Yale Indigenous Performing Arts Program’s inaugural playwriting contest, where it received a staged reading. The Crickets Ate the Moon has also been performed at Dartmouth College as a part of the YourSpace series. She is the recipient of Dartmouth’s 2017 Susan DeBevoise Wright Award in recognition for excellence in theater.

picture-407Susanne Pari — Writing Judge

Susanne Pari is an Iranian-American journalist and author of The Fortune Catcher, a novel that explores multicultural identity and religious fundamentalism during the aftermath of the Iranian Revolution; it has been translated into six languages. This is Susanne’s fourth year serving as a judge in the Writing Challenge.

Susanne’s non-fiction pieces have appeared in The New York Times Sunday Magazine, The Christian Science Monitor, The Boston Globe, The San Francisco Chronicle, National Public Radio, and Medium. She was the Program Director for the 25 literary salons of Book Group Expo, teaches writing for the Afghan Women’s Writing Project, and is a judge for The California Center for the Book’s Letters About Literature Contest. Pari is a member of the National Book Critics Circle and The San Francisco Writers’ Grotto.

Pari frequently speaks and writes on issues of immigration, religious fundamentalism, women’s rights and American identity. As a speaker, Pari has conducted interviews, panel discussions, and conversations with authors such as Amy Tan, Khaled Hosseini, Anna Quindlen, Ayaan Hirsi Ali, and others. Susanne is a member of LCE’s Board of Directors.

Megan Red Shirt Shaw– Writing Judge

Megan Red Shirt Shaw earned her bachelors degree from the University of Pennsylvania in English, and her Masters from the Harvard Graduate School of Education in Higher Education. An enrolled member of the Oglala Sioux tribe, she is the founder of Natives In America?, an online literary publication for Native American, Alaska Native & Native Hawaiian youth, and currently works as a college counselor at Albuquerque Academy in New Mexico. Passionate about Indigenous rights issues, college admissions, and greater Native presence in media, she believes in empowering young people to use their voices for the issues they care about in their communities. Her favorite phrase her mother ever taught her in Lakota is “Weksuye, Ciksuye, Miksuye” meaning “I remember, I remember you, Remember me.”

vincent shillingVincent Schilling — Writing Judge

Vincent Schilling is an award-winning Native American author and producer and photojournalist as well as a public speaker who has traveled across the United States and Canada.

Vincent Schilling (Akwesasne Mohawk) now serves as Associate Editor at Indian County Today along side editor Mark Trahant. In addition, he is the Executive Vice President and co-owner of Schilling Media, Inc. a Native American owned Media and Media Relations Corporation, and the host of Native Trailblazers, an online indigenous radio program which airs every Friday at 7 P.M. Eastern Standard Time. In 2011, Native Trailblazers was nominated for an Aboriginal People’s Choice Music Award for “Best Aboriginal Music Radio Station/Program” and is the three-time winner of the Silver Arrow award from Spirit Wind Records for outstanding contributions to Native American Music.

In 2011, Vincent received a human rights award in the city of Virginia Beach for the programs he created addressing Native American issues in the Hampton Roads region. He has published numerous books that profile Native Americans and their achievements.

Wakaya Wells — Writing Judge

Wakaya Wells is a tribal citizen of the Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma. He discovered his passion for writing poetry and spoken word in middle school. A graduate of Dartmouth College, Wells spent much of his time working on his craft in the classroom, and through workshop and competition. After graduating, he began writing fiction and is now obtaining his MFA in Creative Writing from the Institute of American Indian Arts in Santa Fe. His work focuses on culture, home, identity and the Choctaw language. Wells has also used his writing as a form of activism to protest issues such as the Indian mascot, colonialism, and capitalism.

Jody_speaking (2)Nobel Laureate Jody Williams — Writing Judge

Nobel Laureate Jody Williams received the Nobel Peace Prize, for her work to ban landmines through the International Campaign to Ban Landmines (ICBL), which shared the Peace Prize with her in 1997. Williams served as chief strategist and spokesperson for the ICBL as it achieved its goal of an international treaty banning antipersonnel landmines during a diplomatic conference held in Oslo in September 1997. Williams is an advocate for freedom, self-determination and human and civil rights who believes that working for peace requires persistence and a commitment to sustainable peace, built on environmental justice and meeting the basic needs of the majority of people on our planet. In 2006, Williams co-founded the Nobel Women’s Initiative, which uses the prestige of women Nobel Laureates to support and amplify the efforts of women around the world working for sustainable peace with justice and equality.

Williams is the Sam and Cele Keeper Endowed Professor in Peace and Social Justice at the Graduate College of Social Work at the University of Houston. In academic year 2012-2013, she became the inaugural Jane Addams Distinguished Visiting Fellow in Social Justice at the University of Illinois at Chicago. Her memoir, My Name is Jody Williams: A Vermont Girl’s Winding Path to the Nobel Peace Prize, was released in early 2013. This is Jody’s third year as a Judge in LCE’s Writing Challenge.

12544883_10204289274146799_1421159841_oJuliana Brown Eyes Clifford — Art Judge

Juliana Brown Eyes-Clifford is an artist, model, photographer, baker, gardener and –last but not least –the bassist and Co-Founder of Scatter Their Own, Pine Ridge’s home grown rock band that combines social messages with original music. Juliana took home the Grand Prize in LCE’s Art Challenge last year (when the theme was “We Are Here”) with her amazing depiction of Unci Maka, or Grandmother Earth. We welcome her this year as a Judge for the Art Challenge.

Juliana is a role model for all young people and has spoken at LCE’s Youth Summits about strategies for health, wellness and rising above negativity.

GreggDealColonialismGregg Deal — Art Judge

Artist and activist Gregg Deal has become one of the nation’s leading native art activists, and will return this year to judge LCE’s Art Challenge.

Gregg is a member of the Pyramid Lake Paiute tribe and uses art as a means to create a social impact and to illustrate a message. His work is featured among the Honor the Treaties collection, and is on display at venues, cities and is seen on murals across the country.

Poster Deal 300There is almost no issue facing America’s first peoples that Gregg has not taken on with his artwork. His work combines creativity with expression and opinion, and sparks controversy and conversations. He has tackled football names, the protection of Grandmother Earth, cultural appropriation, colonialism and many other issues.

Gregg heard of our art challenge two years and sent the entrants a quick video note, congratulating them for entering and for believing in themselves. This year, we are proud to welcome him back for the second year in a row as a judge for the art entries!

Gregg is based in Washington DC and has presented at the National Museum of American Indians and around the world and is the recipient of numerous awards and grants.

Michael Patton — Art Judge

Michael Patton is Oglala Lakota and Isleta Pueblo. A self taught artist residing on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation owner of the Lakota Art Studio specializing in screen printed apparel, in which the designs are a reflection of Lakota culture, Our Way of Life and also the Oyate (the people). Patton is a long time advocate for uplifting Lakota culture and youth in the Pine Ridge community. His designs are celebrated and worn by all across the reservation.

Click HERE for the Rules

Click HERE for the FAQ

Click HERE for an Entry FormDeadline Extended to March 5th!

Click HERE for a FLYER with all the details

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