(Photographs courtesy of Tara Rose Weston photography)
The Lakota Nation Invitational (LNI) is an annual event in Rapid City, SD that brings together Lakota youth and Lakota communities from across the state of South Dakota for activities including basketball, handgames, language bowl, knowledge bowl, archery, and poetry slam tournaments. This year, LCE served as a co-organizer for the 5th annual Youth Poetry Slam, as an educational vendor, and as a presenter at the Lakota Nations Education Conference.
LCE co-organized the 5th annual Youth Poetry Slam which took place Thursday, December 14th. The Poetry Slam was organized by First Peoples Fund’s Dance with Words program for the last four years. As an alumni of the Dances with Words program, LCE executive director, Autumn White Eyes created this new partnership for LCE. On event day, more than 75 people gathered to watch 20 Lakota youth poets perform. Laree Pourier, Dances with Words Program Manager, noted that the event attendance had more than doubled from the year before.
LCE’s executive director, Autumn White Eyes facilitated a poet circle with breathing exercises and team building activities at the beginning of the event to help students prepare for their performances. Students used this time as an opportunity to meet one another, and discuss the importance of sharing their stories and poetry with their community.
The event began with azilya (smudging), a type of praying in Lakota Culture where sage is burned to purify the mind and body. Youth poets spoke about a variety of issues impacting their lives such as colonialism, poverty, sexual assault, and depression and suicide. First People Fund’s, Angel Two Bulls led a decompression station in the room as a refuge for students who experience triggers throughout the event, because many youth spoke about issues related to trauma.
Talon Bazille Ducheneaux, a Lakota hiphop and spokeword artist, was the event’s MC, and ended the slam with an incredible performance! Talon reflected upon the event and said, “I felt their stories and their pains and their happiness and their hopes and everything. I’ve never felt that close to home before.”
Lakota Nation Invitational was an opportunity for LCE to get the word out about our work. Youth Advisory Board members Lane Anthony Bordeaux and Angelique White Eyes led an LCE vendor booth and spoke to over 100 community members about our upcoming writing and art challenge, and gave away bracelets that say, “Wakȟáŋyeža kiŋ wakȟáŋ, #ChildrenAreSacred,” a very important teaching in Lakota culture. Autumn attended the Lakota Nations Education Conference and presented to Lakota educators on ways they can bring hip-hop and spoken-word into their classrooms and how it relates to Lakota culture.
Check out this interview with our executive director on the poetry slam, and if you are interested in partnering with our work, please contact us at email@example.com. Donations can also be made here!
Make sure you are familiar with all the rules of the 2018 Writing and Art Challenge. Make sure that your entry addresses the assigned prompt.
For best results use our ONLINE ENTRY FORM. The deadline is March 5th, 2018 Activate notifications on our Facebook Page to keep up to date on the progress of the Challenge (there is a drop down option to receive notifications in the box where you “like” the page).
Have a question that is not answered below? Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org
No! You may enter the Writing Challenge OR the Art Challenge OR both — it’s up to you!
Yes, by different judging panels. All entries are judged anonymously.
Yes! It happened last year! One student won a prize in both categories!
Absolutely! We hope that you consult with teachers and mentors, seek advice, and incorporate their suggestions into your work. Your entry, however, must be 100% your own work product. By entering the challenge, you are certifying that the entry is 100% your work.
YES! Entries will be judged on relevance, talent and concept rather than the materials used to create them. Look at last year’s winners to get an idea of the broad range of entries!
There is no secret formula to creating a great poem. Make sure you read our interview with Writing Judge Peter Balakian: Peter is a best selling author and poet and in the interview he describes what he looks for in a poem.
The Writing and Art Challenges both range from Grade 5 through Young Adults (through age 24). There are three categories for the Writing Challenge and two age categories for the Art Challenge.
Yes, as long as you can establish to the satisfaction of LCE’s judges that you are Lakota, a full-time student, a resident of Pine Ridge and that you meet the age or grade criteria of one of the categories.
Maybe! The Middle School category of the Writing Challenge includes 5th graders this year!
Although we do not offer monetary prizes for elementary school students below the 5th grade level, we will accept entries from younger students and we will forward those entries to the judges for their review. Everyone who enters will receive a Certificate of Achievement and will be invited to attend the awards ceremonies in the Spring of 2018. Make sure you have your parent’s or a guardian’s consent to enter.
You will be notified by email by March 31, 2018, so make sure that when you enter, you provide us with all required information!
If you enter using our ONLINE ENTRY FORM, you can’t really mess this up! If you enter by email to email@example.com, then you must include with your entry:
No. Each entry will be judged separately and those with the highest scores will be named winners. If you enter with a spoken word entry, then you must provide a transcript of your entry and either submit a link to a video or attach an audio file.
Yes, but you must provide the judges with a translation of the Lakota words used in your entry.
Yes! Send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org and we will send you as many copies as you need. Please make sure to include your mailing address in the request and tell us how many copies you would like to have.
No. Please ask your teachers, school administrators or neighbors to help you submit your electronic entry. LCE is not responsible for misdirected mail or email but will acknowledge receipt of all entries within 48 hours. Please make sure that you provide active contact information so that we can reach you. You can access an ONLINE ENTRY FORM HERE or you can email your entry to email@example.com. The entry must be submitted by 11:59PM on February 15, 2018.
We believe in the power of youth, we believe that you see things differently than adults, we believe that your voices should be heard and that your messages should be celebrated. Go for it — you might surprise yourself! We will celebrate all entries at Awards Ceremonies and all entrants will win a Certificate of Achievement!
Award Ceremonies are tentatively scheduled for April -May 2018, at either the schools of the grand prize winners or at a local restaurant (more details to come soon)!
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 firstname.lastname@example.org
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 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.
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 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 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 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.
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.
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.
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.
There 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 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. http://www.lakotaartstudio.com/
Click HERE for the Rules
Click HERE for the FAQ
Click HERE for an Entry Form – Deadline Extended to March 5th!
Click HERE for a FLYER with all the details
We are excited to announce that LCE’s Founder, Maggie Dunne, and Executive Director, Autumn White Eyes have been making moves to get the word out about LCE and are advocating for Lakota Children! Check it out!
Autumn sat down with her high school alma mater, and LCE school partner, Red Cloud Indian School to talk about her journey to Lakota Children’s Enrichment. Watch the video below, and read the full interview here.
Autumn also had the opportunity perform spoken-word poetry and to present on her work to the Scarsdale Rotary Club’s weekly business meeting! And this December, Autumn will be presenting at the Lakota Nations Education Conference, to work with educators on bringing spoken-word into their classrooms for Lakota youth! Autumn also wrote a piece on career advice for Jopwell’s digital magazine, #TheWell! Jopwell is a career advancement platform for professionals of color.
Maggie Dunne, Founder and board chair of Lakota Children’s Enrichment has also continued to advocate and get the word out about LCE! She was invited to the Obama Foundation’s first annual Obama Summit to speak on a panel which addressed obstacles facing women and girls. She spoke about how she founded LCE and her work to advocate for women and girls around the world! And MIT featured her work–read more about it here!
WOW! These two women are ah-mazing! Congratulations to LCE’s leaders for their great work!
If you are interested in booking LCE as a speaker for your club, school, or organization please contact us at email@example.com!
In 2016 LCE Founder Maggie Dunne applied for a TED license to produce the first ever TEDxYouth event in Rapid City, South Dakota. In 2016 and again in October, 2017, LCE was the lead sponsor of TEDxYouth@DinosaurPark!
The 2017 TEDxYouth event brought Non-Native and Lakota communities from the Pine Ridge and Rosebud Reservations together in a collaborative educational environment at the Journey Museum and Learning Center in Rapid City, South Dakota on Saturday, October 14, 2017. There were more than 60 attendees including youth and families of all ages, who celebrated 5 speakers and one performer.
The event showcased these three young Lakota Women: Lily Tamayo, Marisa Snider and Wiyaka Little Spotted Horse. Additionally, Non-Native speakers with strong ties to South Dakota included: Artists Nayana, Alice Liou and Jared Narlock. The speakers talked about a range of topics such as ageism, Indigenous Rising Movements, and how to save rhinos from poaching.
Janet Whiting, LCE board member who attended the event said, “The talks were beautiful and even though it was unintentional, it felt as though there was a strain of finding perseverance in each speaker’s topic.”
Twenty Lakota youth and adult volunteers helped put the whole event together. Many of the youth volunteers were super-inspired after the event and said they can not wait for next year!
TEDxYouth@DinosaurPark would not have been possible without the incredible amount of support it received from the Rapid City community and its incredible line-up of sponsors!
Wopila Tanka (THANK YOU VERY MUCH) to:
In addition, LCE Executive Director Autumn White Eyes and LCE Director Cindy Dunne, worked hard coaching each of the speakers in the weeks leading up to the event to ensure that their talks were top flight!
Our official event photographer and videographer, Indigene Entertainment LLC is working diligently to get the videos edited so that they can be shared widely. In the meantime, we invite our followers, supporters, and allies to check out the photos taken at the event by following this link: http://bit.ly/TEDxYouthDinosaurPark2017
Thank you to our sponsors and all of our team members for making the event possible. If you are interested in sponsoring this event for next year please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or at TEDxYouthDinosaurPark@gmail.com
You can watch the 2016 speakers HERE.
In the spirit of ideas worth spreading, TED has a program called TEDx, which consists of local, independently organized events that bring people together to share a TED-like experience. TED provides general guidance for the TEDx program. Learn more about TEDx HERE.