Local Workshop Teaching About An Endangered Language


Sioux Falls, S.D.- A language workshop is being put on this weekend to try and teach others about their endangered language.

“I’d be lying if i said there wasn’t a fear in me of our language disappearing.  But there’s so much work to be done that is being done,” says Alex Firethunder Loeb.

According to stories past down through time, the Lakota people have lived in the American Midwest since the beginning of time.

With the language becoming endangered, the Lakota language experts say they are doing everything they can to keep their native language going.

“Lakota, the Sioux language, which is a relatively easy language to learn once you get into it.  But we’re trying to revive the language and keep it alive.  So we’re doing everything we possibly can to do that,” says Ben Blackbear Jr.

Lakota language teachers say the history of their language has had a recently ugly past.

“Our language was outlawed, there were policies to say you couldn’t speak it.  Children were taking from their homes and communities and sent to boarding schools.  And it was quite literally beaten out of them to not speak or pray in their languages,” Loeb tells us.

The Language Conservancy program is a group that helps save endangered languages.  Among Lakota language, the language conservancy partners with many native speaking groups to put on events like these to help keep their languages alive.

The students attending the workshop are a mix of people with Lakota ancestry as well as Non-Indian teachers with Lakota students in their classes.  The class is not designed to make you a fluent Lakota speaker over the weekend.

For Loeb, he hopes the students attending the workshop have the drive to continue learning about the Lakota language.

“I want to see people leave here feeling inspired and motivated to continue on that journey the same way people like myself have,” says Loeb.

For more information regarding the history of the Lakota language and how you can help, you can find that link here.

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