Native Languages “At a Critical Stage of Loss”

Tribal leaders throughout the Dakotas hopeful new programs will save and revalitalize what is left

We’ve reported recently that there is an incredible demand for a new Lakota language class being offered in Sioux Falls. Extra classes have been added to try and accommodate a desire to learn the language among both Native and non-Native community members.

While the trend is encouraging, it is not necessarily new. Native language classes have been growing in recent years throughout the Dakotas, which is vital if any of these languages are to survive. “We are at a critical stage of loss,” one Flandreau Santee Sioux tribal elder, Myrna Louis, told KDLT.

KDLT’s Carleen Wild explains why in a special look at the revitalization efforts of Native languages throughout the Dakotas, Minnesota, Montana, Nebraska, and Canada.

For more on two of the programs offered locally, check out the Flandreau Santee Sioux Dakota Language Program here. The new Lakota series in Sioux Falls can be checked out by logging onto www.siouxlandlib.org or by calling 605-367-8700.

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