month, the Cheyenne River Youth Project® in Eagle Butte, South
Dakota, is launching its 2011 fundraising campaign to support the
2-acre, naturally grown Winyan Toka Win Garden. Funds and in-kind
donations will allow CRYP to further develop the garden program,
an initiative that links into The Main Farmer's Market, the Cokata
Wiconi Gift Shop, the children's and teens' meal programs and the
ever-popular Garden Club.
already received significant contributions from AARP, Running Strong
for American Indian Youth and Child Fund International, for which
we're deeply grateful," said Julie Garreau, CRYP's executive director.
"Without question, their support has kick-started our 2011 growing
season. Now, we need to take our fundraising to the next level so
we can meet our goals this year."
to Garreau, one of the first orders of business is to remove the
invasive Russian Olive trees from the western fence line and replace
them with native spruce. She said the Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe's
Prairie Management Program staff will remove the trees and branches
then plant the new trees, also providing fabric mulch and anchor
Olives are nasty interloper trees, and they absolutely don't belong
in a naturally grown garden," Garreau explained. "We're looking
forward to replacing them with trees indigenous to this area, although
the project does come at a price."
raise the $1,034 necessary for the tree project, CRYP is asking
its friends and supporters to buy a tree for $25 each. The grassroots,
not-for-profit youth organization also is hoping to arrange a "pennies"
campaign with local schoolchildren, who are eager to help buy the
to Garreau, that sense of connectedness has always been the primary
goal of the Winyan Toka Win Garden. Decades ago, her mother developed
the original vision for a community garden, which would fulfill
elders' desires for traditional foods and reacquaint Lakota children
with their land.
late Iyonne Garreau approached tribal authorities and arranged to
have a north-south plot on the west side of the Cheyenne River Elderly
Nutrition Center, where she served as executive director. When the
center ran short of room for its potato crop, she returned to tribal
government and obtained an east-west section.
mom always strived for native food sovereignty and security, as
well as for sustainable agriculture," Garreau explained. "She always
stressed the importance of fresh produce in a daily diet; the significance
of traditional foods for the Lakota people; and the powerful relationships
that a naturally grown garden can foster between generations as
well as between our people and the earth."
the garden became too much for the nutrition center to manage, CRYP
staff and volunteers took on the responsibility for planting, maintaining
and harvesting the garden. They serve the fruits of their labors
in daily snacks and meals at The Main Youth Center and the Cokata
Wiconi Teen Center, and they engage Cheyenne River's children with
a variety of garden-centric programs and activities.
the harvest season, Winyan Toka Win produce is sold three times
per week through The Main Farmer's Market. And every Tuesday and
Thursday, youth participants join the Garden Club leader and other
volunteers in the garden to assist with planting, watering, weeding
and harvesting. After each 45-minute garden session, they add entries
to their garden journals. Project leaders choose a "Gardener of
the Week" each Friday and send an announcement to The West River
Eagle for publication the following week.
also incorporates fresh produce into meal programs at The Main Youth
Center and Cokata Wiconi Teen Center. And, thanks to the organization's
canning and food preservation efforts, the Cokata Wiconi Gift Shop
offers everything from pickles, jalapeños, banana peppers
and tinpsila (wild prairie turnips) to apple butter, salsa, chokecherry
syrup and a variety of james and jellies, including chokecherry,
wild plum and wild grape.
Gift Shop proceeds benefit CRYP, ensuring continuity of its youth
programs and family services. To place an order, call (605) 964-8200;
CRYP also hopes to offer an online store at www.lakotayouth.org
in the not-too-distant future.
Lakota people, the land is important to us," Garreau said. "It's
part of who we are, so we need to make sure our kids establish their
own connections to Mother Earth. We need to care for her, love her
and protect her; to do that, the kids need to understand what a
garden can do. It feeds us, it shelters us. Through its healthy
produce, it protects us from diabetes and many of the other health
issues that are ravaging Indian Country."
year, as they do every year, CRYP's staff members, volunteers, children
and community participants will work hard to nurture the garden
and harvest nutritious foods while they also learn to respect the
land, the water and the plants. And they'll learn about sustainability;
rain-water harvesting, drip-irrigation and enhanced food-preservation
efforts are all goals on CRYP's list for this special piece of earth.
garden has taught us so much how sustainability really works," Garreau
said. "We try to incorporate those principles into everything we
do here, and we always try to leave the land in better shape at
the end of the growing season than it was in when we started."
is encouraging CRYP supporters to contact the organization for a
"Garden Needs List," and she's actively engaged in increasing community
can do so much more, and we need to," she said. "Having a garden
is hard work, but it's not impossible. And the benefits are priceless.
A garden really is an outdoor fitness center, a health food store,
an engine for economic development and a classroom for all
obtain a copy of the Garden Needs List, to learn more about the
Cheyenne River Youth Project and its programs, and for information
about making donations and volunteering, call (605) 964-8200 or
or visit www.lakotayouth.org.
Cheyenne River Youth Project®: Developing Potential
The Cheyenne River Youth Project® (CRYP), established in 1988,
has become an essential youth and family services organization,
integral to the Cheyenne River Reservations support system,
in Eagle Butte, South Dakota. Our organization has become vital
not only because we provide innovative youth programming and family
services, but also because we are a grassroots initiative tailored
to meet the needs of our community. With over 369 family memberships
reservation wide, CRYP represents local problem solving for critical