Mandan, Hidatsa, Arikara Summer Institute Offers Language Classes at Nueta Hidatsa Sahnish CollegeJul 7th, 2016 | By tcj | Category: Online TC News, Tribal College News, Web Exclusive
The MHA Language Project recently offered a Summer Institute to anyone interested in learning and teaching Mandan, Hidatsa, and Arikara languages. The summer training program was held June 27-July 8 at Nueta Hidatsa Sahnish College (NHSC) in New Town, North Dakota.
The MHA Summer Institute (MHASI) is an intensive, two-week language experience. The Institute offers an opportunity for teachers and learners of Mandan, Hidatsa, and Arikara languages to get together and share strategies for second language learning and teaching. The program is especially helpful for teachers from regional Head Start programs and schools.
For the first time this year, the institute offered intensive tracks for both Arikara and Hidatsa second language learners, focusing on vocabulary, sentence structure, and phonology. “The Hidatsa intensive course will strengthen and increase the connection to our own alphabet—the Hiraaca alphabet,” says Bernadine Young Bird, a Native American studies instructor at NHSC. “It is a critical step in setting aside the English alphabet to really engage in our own language sounds and, ultimately, to help all learners read, write, and speak Hiraaca proficiently.”
For teachers of MHA languages, MHASI offers training in best-practice teaching methods using MHA Language Project’s new language materials. “I was very happy with what I learned. It was all very interesting, challenging and enjoyable,” commented a participant from last year’s institute.
MHASI has been growing year to year. This year’s institute was the biggest one yet. The Mandan and Arikara language tracks will have classes for developing Level 2 teaching materials, while the Hidatsa track will offer a class to review the newly published Level 3 language materials. Attendees this year had the opportunity to participate in cultural activities after daily language classes. Last year’s activities included a corn braiding class and a pottery class. This year, Bernadine Young Bird led a Hidatsa Midaxa Dibia pottery class.
The MHA Language Project is a program of the MHA Nation Tribal Education Department, Nueta Hidatsa Sahnish College, NHSC Native American Studies and the Language Conservancy. The project aims to create as many new fluent speakers of Mandan, Hidatsa, and Arikara as possible using best-practice solutions.