The Cheyenne River Youth Project has announced the launch of its annual star quilt raffle, which will support its Wo Otúh’an Wi Toy Drive on South Dakota’s remote Cheyenne River Sioux Reservation. Every raffle ticket purchase will help bring holiday joy and magic to hundreds of Lakota children this December.
Tickets are now on sale, and the 2021 raffle will run through the end of the day on Wednesday, Dec. 22. CRYP staff will announce the lucky winner via Facebook Live on Wednesday, Dec. 29.
“This year’s quilt has been christened ‘Winter Solstice,’” said Julie Garreau, CRYP’s executive director. “Hand-crafted by Cheyenne River tribal member Bonnie LeBeaux, it reflects the colors of a winter prairie, with its dormant grasses and glittering ice and snow.
“We always look forward to showcasing Bonnie’s beautiful work in this raffle, which we hold every year,” she continued. “For Lakota people, art isn’t just art. It’s our culture. It’s life. So we believe there is no better way to share our culture with others than through our traditional Lakota art.”
For the Lakota, Dakota, and Nakota peoples of the Oceti Sakowin Oyate, the Seven Council Fires, star quilts are valued gifts given to commemorate special occasions. The star pattern comes from early buffalo robe designs.
Funds raised through raffle ticket sales will directly benefit CRYP’s Wo Otúh’an Wi Toy Drive. Started in 1990 as the Christmas Toy Drive, the beloved program was renamed in 2019 to reflect traditional Lakota values.
“Wo Otúh’an Wi means ‘Moon of Giving Away Presents’ in the Lakota language,” Garreau explained. “At its heart, the toy drive has always been about generosity and caring for our community — and we simply couldn’t manage such an enormous undertaking without the generosity of our friends across the country and around the world. The holiday season is a celebration of giving, and that is a deeply held Lakota value.”
Garreau noted that the public can assist with the star quilt raffle, a critical toy-drive fundraiser, in four ways. Supporters may buy tickets, offer to sell tickets, help spread the word by telling family and friends, and share raffle details through social media..
Tickets are $1 each or $5 for a six-ticket packet. To purchase tickets, send cash, checks or money orders to: Cheyenne River Youth Project, Attn: Star Quilt, 702 4th St., P.O. Box 410, Eagle Butte, SD 57625. You also may pay online at www.lakotayouth.org/win-a-star-quilt.
To sell tickets, please call (605) 964-8200 or send an email to Garreau at firstname.lastname@example.org. She will send as many tickets as you request; they come in books of six. Once you receive your tickets, along a quilt photo and information sheet, you will be responsible for selling those tickets. All tickets need to be turned in by Dec. 22 so CRYP can conduct the drawing as planned and make the official announcement on Dec. 29.
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 visit www.lakotayouth.org. And, to stay up to date on the latest CRYP news and events, follow the youth project on Facebook (/LakotaYouth), Twitter (@LakotaYouth) and Instagram (@lakotayouth and @waniyetuwowapi).