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Respected Lakota language educators spent a week this summer participating in the Wicoiye- Lakota Language Institute held on the Black Hills State University campus in Spearfish. Those participating in the Institute included: back row, left to right, Manny Iron Hawk, Eagle Butte; Dennis Ghost, Manderson; Delmar One Feather, Oglala; Bryan Charging Cloud, Manderson. Front row, left to right: Renee Iron Hawk, Eagle Butte; Dollie Red Elk, Rapid City; Jace DeCory, project facilitator, Spearfish; and Rosalie Little Thunder, instructor, Rapid City. Not pictured, Paulette High Elk, Dupree.

Respected Lakota language educators spent a week this summer participating in the 
Wicoiye- Lakota Language Institute held on the Black Hills State University campus in Spearfish.

Participants commented that they were pleased to have the opportunity to share ideas and use the cultural mapping method to explore old and new Lakota words. Brainstorming on methodology, best practices in Lakota instruction, grade specific plans, classroom activities and innovative strategies to improve instruction, were topics of engagement. This dialogue emphasized the importance of keeping the Lakota language alive and vibrant.

According to Rosalie Little Thunder, Lakota language specialist, instructor of record for the course, and BHSU adjunct instructor, “It was an exciting week of exploring classroom ideas and activities to provide quality instruction in the language.”

Jace DeCory, Institute Project Facilitator and assistant professor of American Indian Studies at BHSU, commented that it was wonderful to listen to these educators speak only in the Lakota language, even though she is not a fluent speaker. For DeCory, the Lakota language is one of the most beautiful languages in the world and for the people or the world to lose it would be a tragedy.

Summer participants in AIS 490/590 who received two credit hours of undergraduate or graduate credit toward teacher recertification in Lakota included: Delmar One Feather, Oglala; Dennis Ghost, Manderson; Bryan Charging Cloud, Manderson; Dollie Red Elk, Rapid City; Manny Iron Hawk, Eagle Butte; Renee Iron Hawk, Eagle Butte; and Paulette High Elk, Dupree.

The participants were pleased to be a part of this educational opportunity and are excited about being involved in future workshops. Little Thunder and DeCory, hope to sponsor future workshops that will help facilitate the survival of the Lakota language. The Institute was made possible through grants from the Seventh Generation Fund and Native Voices – Endangered Language Fund.

Special thanks go to Residence Life and the A’viands staff here at BHSU for their excellent service and cooperation.