Thuswecha Beading & Cultural Academy logo

The Thuswecha Beading & Cultural Academy helps American Indian youth, ages 10-17, learn how to design and bead dance outfits. Participants learn Native beading techniques and designs from master beaders and cultural teachers. The program includes presentations about beadwork, dance, songs, and participating in a wacipi.

The program requires a commitment to attend weekly meetings and to complete your project to the best of your ability. All beading and sewing materials are provided free! Program sessions run for 18 weeks. While it is difficult to join a session that has already begun due to the time required to complete a dance outfit, you are still welcome to drop by a meeting and check it out, or fill out the registration form to be notified when the next session begins.

Kelsey Tortalita, founder of Thuswecha Beading & Cultural Academy

Thuswecha Beading & Cultural Academy is the project of 20-year-old Kelsey Tortalita, Standing Rock Sioux, of Mandan, ND. She has been going to powwows and dancing for as long as she can remember. Kelsey’s dream is to teach Native youth about art and their culture through beading powwow outfits.

Kelsey was one of ten American Indian young people selected for the 2016 Dreamstarter grant program, funded by Running Strong for American Indian Youth. Each year the program awards grants to ten American Indian youth to help them implement projects inspired by their dreams for their communities. With this funding and the sponsorship of Sacred Pipe Resource Center, Kelsey is making her dream a reality.