Tȟéča Wówapi Káǧa Okȟólakičhiye (TWKO) 

Young Writers' Society

Tȟéča Wówapi Káǧa Okȟólakičhiye (TWKO) is a writers’ society based on the Youth Speaks program model and developed to regenerate young Native spoken word groups. This program provides youth with a safe space to explore new avenues of literary creativity. Additionally, TWKO provides support for youth to write their own narratives and present their perspectives to the community, their peers, and groups outside the cultural and global demographic norm.

TWKO serves youth, ages 19 and under, across the Pine Ridge Reservation. Together young poets come together to have their voices heard locally and nationally.

Tȟéča Wówapi Káǧa Okȟólakičhiye will build analytical, communication, and interpersonal skills necessary for group collaboration and creating open dialogue with youth from across the nation.

TWKO Studio Session

Tȟéča Wówapi Káǧa Okȟólakičhiye studio is a free youth workshop that provides opportunities, training, and a platform for youth to develop their writing, spoken word performance, and public speaking skills with guidance from mentors and teaching artists. Each studio session is initially facilitated by educators, mentors, and/or community members. TWKO strives to create a safe space for youth participation and group collaboration. These safe spaces enable the studio’s environment to naturally manifest into reciprocal learning forums that are inclusive to youth and adults from all walks of life.

COST: Free
AGES: 13-19 yrs

Tȟéča Wópazo Kté: Youth Showcase and Open Mic

Tȟéča Wópazo Kté is a youth showcase and open mic session for young people to showcase their talents and let their voice be heard in the community. All community members are welcome to attend this program. Please come out and support the youth in a positive manner.  Admission is always free, but beverages and light snacks will be available for purchase.


The youth will have the opportunity to present their pieces of work to the community without any form of judging. This will take place during the first portion of the program.


This is a competition open to all poets 19 and under (or older youth currently enrolled in high school). Sign up for open mic competition will open as soon as the program begins. If no one signs up for the competition the showcase will continue.

There are three rounds. All poets perform in the first round. The top 4-6 poets advance to the second round, so spit your best work first. We cut to three poets for the final round.

Remember: the point isn’t the points; the point is the poetry!


We believe in creating a safe space that allows for creativity. These rules and policies are in accordance with nationally acclaimed institutions. All teachers and students must adhere the rules and policies. Any activity in contradiction of program policies and rules will not be tolerated.

All forms of performances are allowed during the showcase and open mic: traditional poetry, spoken word, written word, music, Hip-hop, and stand-up comedy. Poems can be memorized or performed on page (paper works better than digital). All styles and languages welcome.

  • Poems must be poet’s own creation.
  • Three minute time limit per poem / performance.
  • No music other than what you can make with your mouth / body.
  • No props or costumes
  • 19 & Under
  • No racist, sexist, homophobic, or anti-group language or writings that promote hating groups of people. (This does not mean you cannot write about these subjects but consideration must be made to humane treatment even when speaking about people and things that are despicable to the writer or most of society.)
  • If you see a person sitting outside the group, it is everyone’s responsibility to invite the person in to make them feel welcomed and a part of the group. We are all related and will reflect this within our supportive group.
  • Writing is how we battle here. Like any good battle, the language should be strategic and help to win the war against willful ignorance.
  • There is no censorship at the TWKO. Yes, that means you can drop the f-bomb. No, it doesn’t mean you should. Use your words wisely & for greater impact. Be prepared to defend why you chose a poem’s word usage and why it best fits the situation. Words have power. Our goal is to teach youth to find other words to express themselves and to more eloquently describe their thoughts. No hate speech will be tolerated (i.e. no specific threats or defamation of a person or a group). The TWKO is a safe space. 


(from Here)

The TWKO Participant:

  • Identifies oneself as a person who will not publicly and/or privately degrade another person due to what can be stereotypically prejudged gender, identity, race, religion and /or ethnicity.
  • Reports abuse and/or harassment to someone who will be effective in handling the situation when a witness to or victim of it.
  • Becomes conscious of how one’s public and private use of derogatory statements may appear offensive and un-safe to others within in the immediate environment.
  • Creates, promotes or supports art/media and institutions committed to eliminating degradation and providing safe spaces for individuals, groups and cultures targeted by oppressive groups, systems, and/or regimes.