Beginning in the late 19th century, Native American tribes across the United States were banned from practicing their culture. The Lakota tribe, known for its chiefs Sitting Bull, Crazy Horse, and Red Cloud, was legally dispossessed of its religion, its spiritual practices, and much of its language.
In 1978, the passage of the American Indian Religious Freedom Act allowed the Lakota access to their culture once again. Now, in South Dakota, Julie Garreau and her Cheyenne River Youth Project (CRYP) are working with a determined generation of young Lakota to create a stronger economic and cultural future—and they’re using their Lakota heritage to get there.
CRYP has an endless offering of activities and initiatives to positively impact kids in the community. The CRYP internship program began in 2013 to encourage economic participation, including job training, interview practice, and resume building. By the end of 2017, nearly 500 participants will have completed the program.
In early October of 2017, our CEO Jack Dorsey joined members of the Lakota community to premiere a short film about their inspiring work to protect their culture and educate Lakota youth.
Following the premiere of the film, Jack spoke with Julie Garreau and Chris James, president of the National Center for American Indian Enterprise Development about their work and the impact CRYP has on the future of Lakota youth.
“We can not only give these kids skills to grow and evolve, but we can help strengthen their Lakota identity, too—so they can go out into the world and thrive, but also always remember who they are and where they come from,” said Julie.