Sitting Bull College Offers Lakota Language Classes - KFYRTV.COM - Bismarck, ND - News, Weather, Sports

Sitting Bull College Offers Lakota Language Classes

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It's considered the premier Lakota language development event in the country. Sitting Bull College is hosting the Lakota Language Summer Institute. And it's attracting people from all over the world. One woman was inspired to learn the language after visiting the states in 2007.

"I stopped at a museum, and it had history in English and also in Lakota. So, first, I listened to it in English. Then, I started the Lakota button, and I got so fascinated by the language that I pushed it again and again and again and again," says Margarit Favereau of Mannheim Germany.

"Mitakuye Oyasin" means we are all related. And that's why the Lakota Language Institute welcomes anyone who wants to learn.

"There are some tribes in this country that will really limit who teaches it and to whom. But, I think the urgency of revitalizing the language requires that if somebody learns Lakota, that's one more person on the way to fluency," says Lakota teacher Anapaho Duta Flying Earth.

One Lakota woman traveled eight hours to reconnect with her own culture.

"I realized how much we lost in the meanings, I guess the context. And right now, English is my first language. So, when I look to see how much work I have to do to try to revive my own language, I feel a sense of sadness. But I also feel a sense of appreciation for those who have managed to retain their language," says Lori Poitras of Saskatchewan.

Students range in age from children to adults. Tribal Chairman Dave Archambault says the Lakota language is a part the tribe's identity. And if they don't do something, it will be gone.

"It just makes you proud. And it's really exciting to see kids far younger than you that are speaking and are interacting with the language. It's enlightening, encouraging and it's a beautiful thing," says Archambault.

The  institute offers a variety of classes, ranging from Northern Plains Sign Language to Lakota Drama.

Favereau says she's sharing the language with her family in Germany. She's already taught her four-year-old grand-daughter to count to 10 in the Lakota language.

Courses run through June 20.
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