Largest turnout for fifth annual Lakota Nation Invitational Youth Poetry Slam

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RAPID CITY, SD (KOTA TV) - The Lakota Nation Invitational is known for basketball, but there's a lot more that goes on.

More than 15 events take place at the LNI including the 5th annual Poetry Slam.

Last year’s winner opened up the 5th annual Lakota Nation Invitational Youth Poetry Slam with more people competing this year than ever before.

Event Organizer and Dances with Words Program Manager, Laree Pourier, says “I'm anticipating that there will be 15 competing poets. I believe that is our highest number of competitors so far. And last year was our highest number with nine competing poets."

A senior at Red Cloud Indian School is competing in his third consecutive year and says what keeps bringing him back.

Ohitika Locke, explains “I've been doing it, because I love it. And I plan to do poetry even after I graduate high school.”

It's an art form that Pourier hopes will help participants in their daily lives. She also wants poetry to play a prominent role in these kids’ lives, even after high school.

"Our ancestors and our elders have always used story telling as a means of carrying on resilience and way of life and I really hope that our young people see poetry as a means of fulfilling that legacy throughout their lives,” states Pourier.

The winner of the 5th annual LNI Youth Poetry Slam is Carson O’Rourke from Little Wound High School. O’Rourke is part of the Oglala Lakota tribe.