Lakota Language Institute - KMOT.COM - Minot, ND - News, Weather, Sports

Lakota Language Institute

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It all began right here at Sitting Bull College.

"LSI started out as a program so we could keep our language alive so teachers could come and learn the language and how to teach the language. And it's grown every year," says tribal education coordinator Desiree Condon.

For them, the courses qualify as continuing education, but you don't have to be a teacher to attend.

"It's open to people who just want to learn the language. Courses are free. The only thing they have to pay for are their books and dictionary, and they're good to go. It's a great opportunity," says Condon.

This year, 104 people attended the training. Some of them are parents whose pre-schoolers are part of a pilot project where they only speak Lakota at school.

"It's considered a very sacred language. As an adult, I'm trying to learn it, and it's challenging. It's challenging to learn a new language as an adult when you've grown up with English," says Beth White Mountain.

They call it Lakota boot camp.

"There are a lot of guttural sounds that are unique, some kinds of stops and those kinds of things, but no-one will frown on you for speaking Lakota with an English accent," says Wil Meya, Lakota Language Consortium.

Although it can take years to learn Lakota, students say they leave the training feeling empowered.

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