SGU Combines Lakota Language, GIS, Space

May 15th, 2004 | By | Category: 15-4: Ancient Cultures Modern Technology, Tribal College News

LAKOTA SPACE. A compact disc developed by Sinte Gleska University includes space imagery and Lakota language and culture.

Sinte Gleska University (SGU, Mission, SD) and an industry partner have developed an interactive community mapping compact disc that incorporates GIS data layer maps, historical aerial photography, imagery from space, and Lakota language.

The Sicangu Policy Institute at the university initiated the project to establish the relevance of GIS and related information technologies to a broad range of learners on the Rosebud Reservation in South Dakota. They worked closely with an industry partner, Spatial Data Technologies (SDT).

“This demonstration of multi-media mapping is already widely acclaimed as an example of how Native America can better utilize the spatial and spectral technologies to extend ancestral philosophies of land stewardship and cultural preservation,” according to James Rattling Leaf, land and natural resources planner for the institute.

“Native Americans are comfortable working with aerial or satellite images, because these images show a world without political boundaries,” says Jhon Goes In Center. “That’s how we’ve always viewed Earth,” he says. Goes in Center is the industry liaison for the policy institute.

Rattling Leaf sees the Rez Mapper as a tool to reconnect Lakota young people with their land and culture, as well as technology. It adheres to science, math, engineering, and technology educational standards. The university has placed copies of Rez Mapper in area schools and in the reservation’s 20 communities, and teachers are developing curriculum for using it in the classroom.

For more information, contact James Rattling Leaf by email or by phone (605) 856-4262. The project is highlighted at the following website,

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