Lakota Language Consortium FAQs2021-05-09T16:38:03-04:00

Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently Asked Questions

How does LLC build community capacity?2021-05-24T12:12:00-04:00
LLC builds community capacity for sustainable Lakota language revitalization across numerous areas:
  • Since 2011, LLC has written nearly $5 million of Department of Education grants to fund the establishment of Lakota Teacher Training Programs at three universities, which have trained over 20 students to become Lakota language teachers:
    • 2011-2015 Established the LLEAP Lakota Teacher Training Program at University of South Dakota
    • 2011-2015 Established LLEAP Lakota Teacher Training Program at Sitting Bull College
    • 2017-2021 Established LEAP Lakota Teacher Training Program University of North Dakota
  • LLC’s Summer Internship Program:
    • Provides fully-paid indigenous Internship opportunities to work at the LLC office in the linguistic and other departments.
  • LLC has supported the development of numerous Immersion schools:
    • Helped set up the LOWI  immersion school for Cheyenne River
    • Assisted with Immersion support for numerous other programs
  • Assisted with support for the Lakota Language Summit since 2006
Why Aren’t All Materials Free?2021-05-11T23:31:32-04:00

We all know and recognize that there is a cost associated with manufacturing small run printed materials. LLC works to create durable, high-quality materials that will stand up over time in a variety of environments like classrooms or your home. Many Lakota Language learners bring their materials to Language Weekends and local study groups. Each product is manufactured to withstand the wear and tear of repetitive daily use. 

Proceeds from these materials allow us to provide high-quality materials for the Lakota communities, K-12 schools, Colleges, and language programs we serve. As more and more language materials are created, our efforts will continue to focus on creating high-quality materials that can be used long-term and shared with others. 

As technology progresses, we will continue to improve and update digital materials as well.  LLC is focused on interactive ways to leverage digital materials for language learning. If you see an opportunity to help us future reduce costs feel free to reach out.

If you’d like to learn more about free materials check out this FAQ.

Learn more about the materials we donate here.

Are There Any Free Materials?2021-05-11T19:53:12-04:00

Yes! Learning Lakota does not mean you need to invest in every book available in the bookstore. There are a wide variety of materials and online resources to help you in your Lakota language journey that are completely free.

Check out all the free materials here

Lakota Online Dictionary

Lakota Language Keyboard

Lakota Mobile Keyboard

Lakota Vocab Builder

Owoksape Mobile App

Our YouTube Channel

Lakota Berenstain Bears

Rising Voices / Hótȟaŋiŋpi – Revitalizing the Lakota Language Documentary

What Is Our Approach to Orthography ?2021-05-17T11:44:36-04:00

We believe that the only way to end six decades of counter-productive arguments about orthographies is for everyone to respect other people’s orthographic choices.

Our policy is to promote one spelling system for orthographic standardization. We do so while respecting that community members may continue to use orthographies that they were raised with or have been accustomed to using throughout their Lakota language journey. We also respect that others may want to promote other orthographies. 

It is a well-documented fact that orthographic standardization plays a significant factor in language revitalization and stability.  However, most world language orthographies are not chosen through a broad consensus in the community, but rather through publications of materials.  In 2004, LLC’s Board considered several competing orthographies for its Level 1 Textbook and chose one.

If you’d like more information on the history of Lakota orthography, we’ve created a great resource on our YouTube Channel here. 

Does LLC Teach Lakota?2021-05-11T19:29:32-04:00

LLC assists Lakota Language learners in a variety of ways. This includes creating materials with Native Speakers, hosting Summer Institutes, and more. LLC is focused on assisting Native speakers and our Native-led board in creating materials that will ensure the language is available for generations to come. Each individual’s experience learning the language will be unique based on the time and discipline they use to engage using the language. 

Check out our introduction page to pick the best path to learn Lakota for you. 

What Does LLC Hope To Accomplish?2021-05-13T12:40:54-04:00

LLC hopes to execute our Native-led Board’s vision of future generations where Lakota children’s first language is Lakota. LLC’s role is to support the Lakȟótiyapi movement by working with educational and Tribal leaders to identify gaps in curriculum and program needs. Those needs are communicated to our Native-led board and prioritized to create projects to fill the need. Developing professional materials and experiences LLC is focused on adhering to the standard orthography and modern teaching techniques to ensure children and adults have a consistent experience while learning Lakota.

If you’d like to learn more about the Vision, Mission, and Role of the LLC, check out the “Our Role & Impact” page here.

Who Are The Members Of The Board?2022-12-06T10:54:02-05:00

Lakota Language Consortiums Board Of Directors is made up of Tribal Elders and their trusted advisors. The role of the Board is to ensure the mission to honor and protect the future of the Lakota Language is carried out. LLC’s Board brings a wealth of history and a strong vision for the future of the Lakȟóta people.

Current Board Members
Ben Black Bear, Jr. – Sičháŋǧu Lakȟóta (since 2008)
Hmuya Mani “Walks with A Roaring” Richard Two Dogs – Oglála Lakȟóta (since 2021)
Iris Eagle Chasing – Cheyenne River (since 2011)

Joe Bendickson (Šišókaduta) – Dakhóta iápi Okhódakičhiye (since 2010)
Jan Ullrich – (since 2004)
Tipiziwin Tolman – Wičhíyena Dakota and Húŋkpapȟa Lakȟóta (since 2022)
Travis Condon – Iháŋktȟuŋwaŋna and Mnikȟówožu (since 2010)
Wil Meya – (since 2004)


Past members of the board are:
Leonard Little Finger – Pine Ridge Sioux Tribe (2004-2008)
Richard Broken Nose – Pine Ridge Sioux Tribe (2004-2008)
Johnson Holy Rock – Pine Ridge Sioux Tribe (2004-2010)
David Rood – Linguist (2004-2009)
Wilson (Buzzi) Two Lance  – Pine Ridge Sioux Tribe (2004-2010)
Yvonne Russo – Rosebud Sioux Tribe (2018-2022)
Kevin Locke (Tokeya Inajin “The First to Arise”) – Lakȟóta and Anishinaabe (since 2009-2017, 2022)

How did LLC Begin?2021-05-14T13:17:33-04:00

The Lakota Language Consortium began in 2002 to address concerns of Lakota language speakers and teachers concerned about the lack of language teaching happening in South Dakota. Community leaders Leonard Little Finger and Robert Two Crow, and others called on the Oglala National Education Coalition to create a solution to address language loss.

The result was a cooperative plan called the Lakota Language Consortium that would partner 18 schools with Indiana University to develop a curriculum. This effort was supported by the Oglala Sioux Tribe.

Unfortunately, the original project never fully materialized. In 2004, to continue the idea, Leonard Little Finger joined with Johnson Holy Rock, Richard Broken Nose, Wil Meya, Jan Ullrich, and David Rood to form a nonprofit organization that would develop curriculum and resources as the original plan envisioned.

LLC’s founding board members were: Leonard Little Finger, Johnson Holy Rock, Buzi Two Lance, Wil Meya, Richard Broken Nose, David Rood, and Jan Ullrich.

Since 2004 , LLC  has succeed in fulfilling its initial vision of providing the basic resources needed for schools to succeed in the effective teaching of Lakota to their students.

Who Uses The Materials?2021-05-14T11:45:31-04:00

All the materials available in the LLC bookstore have been thoughtfully created for a variety of learners.

K-12 students in over 60 schools across Lakota country , including : Pine Ridge, Cheyenne River, Rosebud, and Standing Rock are the primary users of LLC materials. The resources are also used throughout urban Native communities in North Dakota, South Dakota, Denver, and Minneapolis – who use the materials in their curriculum. The most popular items are the interactive app Owóksape, classroom posters, and Levels 1 – 5 Textbooks. 

Adult learners also use LLC materials in self-study and group settings. LLC’s vision and mission is focused on adding language learners in Lakota communities and this is where the majority of materials are used.  A small percentage of materials are also used by non-tribal members interested in learning the language. 

How Many New Speakers Have Been Added Since LLC Began?2021-05-14T11:39:33-04:00

LLC is committed to expanding the real numbers of new Lakota language speakers.    This metric is the ultimate measure of success.   It is, however,  very difficult to measure because of the de-centralized nature of the over all movement.  We know that each individual is on a unique journey toward fluency. Also, those learning to speak Lakota live in a variety of communities, both rural and urban. These two factors make it challenging to gauge the number of Lakota language learners that have reached fluency. 

We do know that there are many independent self-study learners achieving milestones in proficiency & fluency. What we’ve observed: 

  • We have observed the number of K-12 schools increasing the time to teach Lakota  and expanding proficiency-  working with complex books such as the Level 5 Textbooks  and the Lakota Grammar Handbook.
  • Each year new immersion schools are opening, giving young learners the opportunity to achieve high levels of proficiency in the language. We estimate that there are 100 students that have been impacted by the immersion process. 
  • New materials are being requested regularly to fill the need of the community.
  • Lakota Summer Institutes continue to be full, and repeat attendees are moving from beginner, to intermediate and on to advanced. 

Overall,  we believe that approximately 20-30 new highly-proficient Lakota speakers are being developed each year across all the different areas.

While progress is being made, we continue to encourage learners to keep learning! If you’d like to share with us about how a class, person, or material has helped you, please reach out to us here! 

How Is LLC Funded?2021-05-14T13:20:34-04:00

LLC is funded from a diverse set of sources. LLC works with Tribal partners to secure federal grant funding. LLC is also directly contracted by Tribes and Schools to provide materials and services. LLC also receives funding from private foundations and donors. And finally LLC also has an online bookstore for printed materials, audio CDs, and other learning materials. Sales of these materials are used to support the development of the next level of materials or other new products.

What Are The Long Term Goals For LLC?2021-05-17T11:47:44-04:00

LLC’s mission is to create innovative educational opportunities and spaces that encourage fluency in Lakȟótiyapi now and future generations to come. Since 2004, LLC directed by its Lakota-led board has worked with Tribal and schools partners, language activists and Lakota community leaders to identify projects that will allow Lakota youth and adults to engage in productive and successful Lakota language learning.

Our long-term goal is to implement the vision that the Lakota language shall one day be spoken again in every Lakota household. You can read more about our Vision, Mission, and Role here.

Why Is LLC in Bloomington, Indiana?2021-05-17T13:40:53-04:00

The founding board members of LLC were Leonard Little Finger, Johnson Holy Rock, Richard Broken Nose, Buzi Two Lance, Wil Meya, Jan Ullrich, and David Rood.  In 2004 , LLC was incorporated in South Dakota and Indiana, and for most of its history, LLC maintained offices in Pierre, South Dakota and in Bloomington, IN.  LLC’s current South Dakota address is in Rosebud.  The Indiana office was established because two LLC board members, Meya and Ullrich were based in Bloomington and for administrative reasons it continues to operate there.  Most of LLC’s work takes place throughout Lakota Country in South Dakota and North Dakota. 


What Is LLC’s Copyright Policy ?2021-05-17T12:03:59-04:00

LLC abides by the US and international copyright laws, which clearly define what can and cannot be copyrighted. To put it simply, no one can copyright a language. 

Authors can copyright a specific sequence of words or sentences that they put together in books, songs, poems, or digital applications and media.

As author and developer, copyright statements are placed on LLC materials to acknowledge LLC’s right to make copies of the materials.  When requested,  LLC also allows schools and individuals to also make copies its materials for educational reasons.    LLC relies on copyright to ensure the quality and reliability of the Lakota language content and format.

What Is LLC’s Policy In Terms Of Data Sovereignty?2021-05-17T13:54:21-04:00

In order to support the language,  LLC has been working with Native Speakers on language documentation-  creating a collection that can used as a resource by generations of Lakota people to come. To ensure its accessibility, LLC works with the Oglala Lakota College,  Sitting Bull College, and the Standing Rock Language & Culture Institute to catalog, preserve and disseminate the linguistic data in a way that conforms to best practices. LLC is working to transfer ownership of the data to each of these community archives and to work with them to setup the tools and software to store, catalog, and search the collection. All data shall be permanently stored and owned by the Tribes.

LLC has also makes every effort to work with families to share recordings of Native Speakers that have walked on. 

LLC will continue to make every effort to adopt best practices surrounding data sovereignty as it continues to be defined by Tribal leaders and communities.

Who Can Learn The Lakota Language?2021-05-18T10:24:26-04:00

LLC recognizes that each person has their own reason for learning the language and that should be respected.  We also believe that easy access to high-quality Lakota language learning materials is imperative to ensuring the survivability of the language.   LLC’s primary mission is focused on supporting language learners in Lakota Country-  encouraging Lakota households to make Lakȟótiyapi a first language once again.  We also recognize that Lakota communities are not always comprised exclusively of indigenous people. Community and support systems can be comprised of  non-native teachers, non-native partners who parent Native Youth, and others that live or work in the community.

Successful language revitalization movements, such as those by the Hawaiian and Maori people, have made it their policy to welcome and include anyone who desires to learn the language.

Note: If you choose to learn the Lakota language and have no ties to a Lakota Community, we encourage you to understand that you are engaging and actively learning alongside members of an Indigenous community. Be aware that indigenous voices have been silenced through a series of government regulations and a generationally traumatic boarding school era that still impacts  Native communities today. Lakota language learning environments are not the place for outside political rhetoric. LLC and its partners actively work to build positive, encouraging communities for learning.

Does LLC Provide Translations?2021-05-14T10:39:24-04:00

Generally, no. You are, however, welcome to use the dictionary and other resources to look up your own translations.

Does LLC Donate Materials?2021-05-17T13:56:20-04:00

Absolutely, Yes! Getting materials in the hands of Lakota communities and schools is a high priority. It allows us to execute our mission to get Native youth engaged with the language so that generations of Lakota families can carry these traditions forward. Since LLC’s inception in 2004, over $1 million of materials have been donated. These materials have been provided to families, schools, camps, language programs, the incarcerated , and to a variety of facilities and learning events. 

If you are a Tribal representative or program director in a Lakota language community that would like assistance, please reach out to us here.


If you’d like to support these programs by way of funding, donate here.

Are there other organizations working on the language?2021-05-17T14:03:28-04:00
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