Saving Lakota Language Off the Rez
All Native languages, including Lakota, are in serious danger of extinction. We lose speakers, especially fluent speakers, daily. Spoken language speaks the soul of a People & their culture.
We have a free class in Bismarck, ND that meets every Wednesday in the Veterans Memorial Public Library. Our teacher is a certified Lakota Language Teacher. We gift him for his help.
We need books & other such materials - the dictionary alone is $50 + tax. The workbooks we need are about $40 each. CDs of conversational Lakota are similarly expensive.
Natives in the US have the worst economic statistics of all groups. We simply can't afford to buy the books & supplies we need to successfully teach our class. Some of us get government assistance to live; others work at low-wage jobs. I am self-employed but spend a great amount of time helping my People at no cost to anyone (except me).
Currently, we make scans or photocopies of my books or library books to pass around. This is not a good way to proceed with this vital work, because there aren't enough books for everyone to have one. Much is lost without the entire book to refer to, when someone is learning.
Cultures are only truly expressed through their languages. Each language expresses that culture's soul.
Most of any culture cannot be expressed accurately in another language. It is vital to preserve our Native languages. Once the spoken language is gone, it cannot be recreated. This is deadly to the cultures and to the people of each Native culture. Our Indigenous holocaust has continued for over 500 years.
This money would help us help more people to speak - & now, to read & write - Lakota, OFF the Rez. Despite laws that say our Native languages are to be taught in the public schools, there are no classes off the Rez here. The average age of our remaining fluent speakers is over 70. We need to reduce that greatly. This $1,000 grant would enable us to increase the number of speakers & reduce the average age of them.
Funded by Awesome Without Borders (July 2018)