“It’s always been in my family and probably always will be,” said freshman at Flandreau High School Arianna Weston. Teacher Dustin Beaulieu says Flandreau is the first public school to teach this class in South Dakota, but Arianna believes the need for Dakota Language classes is greater than some might think. With more than 30 students signing up this fall, Beaulieu is hoping to teach more than just the language. “In this class we are able to teach values inside the language, values of how to be. We are able to push them to be the best they can, not just in this class but in these hallways and taking care of each other and outside of the school." [KDLT teevee]In 1869 General William Henry Harrison Beadle was appointed surveyor-general of Dakota Territory.
"Tȟuŋkášilayapi, tȟawápaha kiŋháŋ." So opens the Lakota Immersion class at General Beadle Elementary School in Rapid City. Today, Lakota is considered "critically endangered." The Lakota Language Consortium in 2016 reported that 2,000 first-language speakers were alive, down two-thirds from a decade earlier. It's more than just learning the diacritics and glottal stops (which creates a popping sound), but values. [Lakota language immersion expanding at General Beadle]The Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Community, a tribal nation trapped in Minnesota, has bequeathed Oglala Lakota College with a grant of $25,000 to help fund the school's Lakota language immersion program.
The Cheyenne River Sioux Nation developed a Lakota language immersion curriculum.
Lakota language immersion childcare started in 2012 with the primary goal of fostering Lakota as a first language. [KOTA teevee]Arabic, Mandarin and Spanish in South Dakota schools? Sure, that's cool; but learning where students are steeped in American Indian languages is giving the next generation of Natives opportunities to preserve their cultures.