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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 info@lakotachildren.org

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. http://www.lakotaartstudio.com/

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

LCE Leadership advocates for Lakota Children!

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 info@lakotachildren.org!

We did it! Another awe-inspiring TEDxYouth@DinosaurPark!

Speaker Liliana Tamayo sharing her talk on Indigenous Rising Movements! #LakotaYouth

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:

WOPILA TANKA to our sponsors!

The Journey Museum and Learning Center
Indigene Entertainment LLC
The Performing Arts Center of Rapid City
Western Communications, Inc.
Copy Country, Inc.

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 info@lakotachildren.org or at TEDxYouthDinosaurPark@gmail.com

You can watch the 2016 speakers HERE.
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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.

Our speakers and speaking coaches did a great job!

Honoring Native Youth Voices! #LegendsandHeroes!

This October, LCE honored our long-awaited winners of the 2016-2017 Writing and Art Challenge: Legends and Heroes with two banquet ceremonies where we celebrated the students, their families, and their friends. The students were honored with their awards, custom plaques, and a healthy dinner. One award ceremony took place at Red Cloud Indian School to accommodate families who live on the South side of the reservation, and the other ceremony took place at the Cloud Horse Art Institute, to accommodate families who live on the North side of the reservation.

Communications Coordinator, Willi White accepted a $1,000 grant for writing and art supplies on behalf Red Cloud Indian School for Lane Anthony Bordeaux’s grand prize win in the middle school category. Dan Snethan, science, poetry, and acting club teacher also accepted a $1,000 grant on behalf of Little Wound High School for Wasu Janis’ grand prize win in the high school category. Advisory Board members and Local Pine Ridge band, Scatter Their Own: Juliana Brown Eyes-Clifford and Scotti Clifford performed at the award ceremony. Juliana who was an art judge for this year, and the 2015 grand prize winner of the #WeAreHere art challenge gave an inspiring speech to the students on the power of art and encouraged students to keep writing, creating, and expressing themselves.  

This was the first year that we chose to award the winners of the writing and art challenge through a banquet style award ceremony. Many parents thought this was a great way to celebrate the youth and hear their work. In the past we celebrated our winners through a school-wide assembly. This was a wonderful way to celebrate the students, however, because the ceremony took place during the school day, parents were not able to attend. For the Legends and Heroes theme, many students wrote about their family members, so we thought they should be invited to also be celebrated for being Legends and Heroes to the students!

Each award ceremony ended with an open mic for students to share their work with the group and they got a huge applause! Check out these photos of Lane Anthony Bordeaux and Thea Dubray reading their pieces for the group!

Our Executive Director, Autumn White Eyes also reflected on this year’s writing and art challenge:

I got involved with LCE as a participant in the Voices of The Land challenge. This challenge pushed me to share my spokenword piece with my community and I felt incredibly honored when I won the grand prize award in 2014. Through writing and art, Lakota students can express themselves and share their stories with the world. As a Lakota person, our history and our stories often feel invisible to wider society, however, I believe this challenge works to amplify the stories of Lakota youth to be shared with our allies who invest in the future leaders of the Oglala Lakota Nation.

Next year, our writing challenge is Mní Wičhóni, meaning Water is Life. We are encouraging Lakota youth to share their stories on how they protect water and their reflections from the movement at Standing Rock that shook the world. Stay in touch with us for more information on next year’s challenge and please consider supporting our efforts.

We encourage our allies and supporters to sponsor our annual Writing and Art Challenge by making a tax deductible donation at the link below:

Celebrating Summer Internship Success!

The summer of 2017 brought Lakota Children’s Enrichment a new Executive Director, tons of sunshine and a new intern: Aimee Cheng! Throughout the month of August, Aimee worked diligently to get the word out about Lakota Children’s Enrichment’s work and events, and managed social media networks to raise awareness about the success of Native youth! Aimee is a rising freshman who is entering the Ernest Mario School of Pharmacy at Rutgers University in New Brunswick, NJ this coming fall.

Before she heads back to school we want to take the time to thank her for volunteering her time with us this summer!  

Please read Aimee’s reflections of her internship with us and join us in celebrating her successful internship!

Aimee’s Reflections

My name is Aimee Cheng and I am excited to be part of the volunTEAM at LCE! I have volunteered previously with other charitable organizations, but until discovering Lakota Children’s Enrichment, I did not have the opportunity to work so closely with the behind-the-scenes aspects of a nonprofit organization.

Before working with LCE, my knowledge of Native American history and culture was very limited to what I learned through history classes in my high school — which usually did not amount to even a day’s worth of lessons. Within the short time I have been at LCE, I have learned so much more about Native culture, history, and current events; however, the ways in which the Native community thrives seems to be almost invisible to most of our country.

There is so much social injustice not only in our country but all over this world right now and making sure that people’s voices are heard is very important. Learning about the experiences and perspectives of others can help motivate more people to help fight against injustices. 

As an intern for LCE, I was part of the social media team: I searched for articles that help spread awareness about the presence, culture and perseverance of Native Americans within this country. Looking through all these articles, I was truly inspired by what Lakota and other Native Youth are doing to make their voices heard and how they combat obstacles in the path to success.

Entering my collegiate years, I hope to continue to utilize what LCE has taught me to speak up in the face of injustice as well as to not be afraid to share my own thoughts on what is right.

I have high hopes for LCE to continue in its support of Native Youth all over the nation and I will continue to support LCE in its endeavors!

Fun Fact: Aimee was accepted to Ernest Mario School of Pharmacy’s Pharm.D. program directly from high school. At the end of the 6-year academic program, Aimee will receive her Doctor of Pharmacy degree!

Way to go Aimee! Good luck in college this fall!

Want to intern with LCE this fall? Learn more at and apply TODAY!

If you would like to join LCE’s efforts to amplify the voices of Native Youth, then please consider making a tax deductible donation at this link.