Speakers educating the next generation to save almost extinct native languages

STANTON, N.D. - Generations ago, it was common to hear the native languages of Hidatsa and Arikara spoken.

But today, experts estimate fewer than 65 people in the world are fluent in Hidatsa and Arikara native languages. After the last fluent Mandan speaker passed away in 2016, elders are continuing to educate future generations to keep what's left of the languages alive.

Some of the last surviving members of those three tribes spoke at Knife River Indian Villages National Historic Site in Stanton at a Native language summit.

"This event is definitely bringing more members and for people to come out and experience the languages that were spoke here, in the villages, 200, 300, 400 years ago, is a pretty powerful and wonderful experience," said Culture Resource Program Manager, Alisha Deegan.

The historic site is open year-round.