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Chelysa Owens-Cyr took home top honors in the 2022 Creative Native Call-to-Art event.
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Chelysa Owens-Cyr

A Fort Peck tribal member won a national writing contest for Indigenous artists.

“Bloom” is the winning entry in the Creative Native 2022 national contest, was made by Fort Peck tribal member Chelsya Owens-Cyr.

Chelysa Owens-Cyr,  won the 2022 Creative Native Grand Prize, according to a press release from the American Indian College Fund.


Creative Native

The Creative Native is an annual Call for Art event within Center for Native American Youth (CNAY) Generation Indigenous program. It provides space and support to Indigenous artists ages 5-24 and the chance to gain national recognition and a monetary award, documents state.

The 2022 theme was “identity.”

Owens-Cyr,, 23, submitted a self-portrait titled “Bloom.” It is based on a ledger art design she made nine years ago. The original design was based on “Unci Maka” (Mother Earth), and it shares the artists use of bright colors in “Bloom.” However, unlike the original, there are more use of the negative space the original left to fill. The artist uses vines to connect all of the blooming flowers and fills the emptiness with vegetation.

The deeper meaning behind this shows the personal growth the artist said she has underwent over time.

“Unci Maka” or Mother Earth was the original art by Chelsay Owens-Cyr. she used as a guide for her award winning “Bloom.”

“The visual represents how I’ve grown, flowers blooming in all directions from her hands with my heart shining in the middle, protected by the growth,” Owens-Cyr said. “Arms out to the side representing open arms, a healed soul; and dragonflies, butterflies flying alongside me representing new life, new beginnings.”

As the winner of the grand prize, Owens-Cyr served as a Gen-I Ambassador at the annual contest. According to Owens-Cyr, ambassadors serve as representatives of their communities who volunteer where needed and help strengthen the voices of Native youth.

The program, she said, helps ambassadors to develop leadership skills and create positive change.

In addition to a $1,000 prize and national recognition, she was also flown to Washington, D.C. for the November 14th release of a report with her winning artwork on the cover. She says the event and overarching GEN-I program are helping her to become more educated on issues facing Native communities and helping her contribute to creating change.

Owens-Cyr grew up in Wolf Point and graduated Wolf Point High School Class of 2017. She graduated from Fort Peck Community College in 2022 with an Associates of Arts in General Studies and Bu8siness Administration.

She founded her own small business selling merchandise under her own brand, Chief’n Wear, and is taking a break from school. Eventually she wants to attend school at the University of Montana for fall semester 2023.




About Post Author

Louis H. Montclair

A journalist on the Fort Peck Indian Reservation. Owner of tribaltimesnews.com
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By Louis H. Montclair

A journalist on the Fort Peck Indian Reservation. Owner of tribaltimesnews.com

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