Sitting Bull Offers New Lakota Curriculum

Feb 15th, 2011 | By | Category: 22-3: Food Sovereignty, Spring 2011, Tribal College News

The revival of the Lakota language opens a new chapter in 2011, as two institutions of higher learning in the Great Plains initiate undergraduate degree majors for teachers of Lakota as a second language. This might be the first time that a Native American language has achieved this kind of professional recognition.

In 2011, the University of South Dakota (USD) School of Education and the Sitting Bull College (SBC, Fort Yates, ND) Division of Education plan to begin offering a two-year Lakota Language Teaching and Learning curriculum as a degree major for a Bachelor of Arts in Education at USD or Bachelor of Science in Education at SBC.

The Lakota Language Education Action Program (LLEAP) was developed by the Lakota Language Consortium. This coordinated program addresses the problem of how to generate high-quality teachers of an important Native American language—that is, teachers who have deepened their own fluency in the language through college-level study and who understand how a second language is taught and learned.

The U.S. Department of Education awarded USD and SBC $2.4 million in grants for a four-year period, from 2011 to 2014, to create 30 new Lakota language teachers. At the end of the grant period, SBC and USD will integrate the Lakota Language Teaching and Learning degree into their regular education programs. The LLEAP students’ tuition and expenses are covered by the Department of Education grants.

Dr. Kimberlee Campbell is the linguistic consultant for the consortium. She has been involved in secondlanguage teacher training programs for Harvard, Brandeis, and New York Universities. She has a working knowledge of Lakota as a second language, has taught at the Lakota Language Consortium’s Lakota Summer Institute teacher training, and is a co-developer of the consortium’s Lakota language textbook series.

Lakota language instruction in tribal schools has been mandated among Lakota tribes since the 1970s. Lakota is one of a few Native American languages with a good chance for survival in the 21st century, with more than 120,000 potential speakers.

More information about the Lakota Language Consortium and LLEAP can be found at www.lakhota.org and http://www.lleap.org/.

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