First-Ever Lakota Language Weekend in Los Angeles
Los Angeles is home to an enthusiastic, interested and dedicated group of Lakota language learners, the Lakota Language Consortium learned during its first ever Lakota Language Weekend to be conducted in the L.A. area (Nov. 12-13 at the Four Points Sheraton in Culver City).
About 30 beginners to learning the language came out for the two-day event led by three fluent Lakota speakers – Alayna Eagle Shield, Nacole Walker, Dusty Nelson – all from the Standing Rock area of North Dakota.
The event began with an opening prayer, then went into an introduction to basic sound and language systems, followed by a session of vocabulary learning facilitated through a fun and lively afternoon of circle games that helped participants develop skills for pronouncing animal names, the names of family members, how to introduce one’s self in Lakota and more.
Just as important, according to Elliott Bannister, a Lakota Language Consortium linguist fluent in Lakota who facilitated during the event, participants were provided the direction, tools and knowledge to improve Lakota language skills through self-instruction.
“When participants ‘flew the nest’ that weekend, we wanted them to be equipped to conintue learning at home,” Bannister said. “We want them to be able to apply the language learning techniques they pick up here for their own self-study. Leaving L.A., we recognized there was a very powerful sense of community, a great intimacy, that developed between the participants.”
Be looking for future Lakota Language Weekends in coming months in the cities of Bismarck, Denver and Minneapolis.