The Lakota Language Consortium began as a dream by the elders and educators on the reservations of South Dakota to save their sacred ancestral language. A series of Lakota language projects on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in the late 1990s served as the impetus for much of the current work. The second largest reservation in the US, the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation became the base of numerous LLC short-term projects, including the production of multimedia computer materials for a newly formed Lakota language immersion program. These innovative and effective ventures were reorganized to bring the most effective Lakota language teaching materials to more reservation schools.
By 2002, LLC had enlisted a coalition of schools and institutions to work cooperatively on Lakota language revitalization. After working with several different operating models, the Lakota Language Consortium evolved into an educational 501(c)3 nonprofit organization in 2004, under a Board of Directors made up of Lakota community members and linguists.
Today, LLC provides multiple levels of support for the Lakota language community. The Consortium's achievements include:
Publication of four installments of K-16 Textbooks, audio CDs, teacher training, teaching materials, and assessment testing. LLC’s sequenced language education materials will impact approximately 20,000 students and 125 teachers in 53 schools over the next 2 years. These materials will be the standard for Lakota language education for decades to come. Browse our materials at the LLC Bookstore
Currently provide the region’s only professional second-language teacher training program for Lakota, the Lakota Summer Institute, each June at Sitting Bull College, Fort Yates, ND, Standing Rock Indian Reservation. See http://www.laksummerinst.com
Published the award-winning, 23,000 word New Lakota Dictionary in 2008; 2nd Education published July 2011.
Launched the online Lakota Language Learning Community in December 2008, advancing Lakota language research, practice and community-building. See www.LakotaDictionary.org.
Established two undergraduate Education degree majors in Teaching Lakota as a Second Language, at Sitting Bull College in Ft. Yates, ND and at University of South Dakota, Vermilion, SD. See www.lleap.org
Translated and recorded 20 episodes of the Berenstain Bears cartoon series in Lakota, for 2011 broadcast on South Dakota and North Dakota Public Television networks, plus DVD with Teacher’s guide. This event made national wire news, as the first animated cartoon presented entirely in a Native American language. See the Bears on our YouTube channel.
LLC is currently involved in many projects. LLC is hard at work on the Speak Lakota! Level 5 textbook and audio CD. LLC is also working to establish a summer language camp for Lakota youth and to establish a fund to help more teachers attend the Lakota Summer Institute. In addition, the Consortium is working with our sister organization, The Language Conservancy, and Florentine Films/Hott Productions to produce Rising Voices, a multi-platform documentary project that portrays the growing movement among tribes, particularly the Lakota, to revitalize their languages -- a movement for creative transformation by communities and individuals, which challenges the expectations put on them by outsiders and those put on young generations by the old.
We are always working on new projects and developing new ideas at LLC. You can keep up with all the latest by subscribing to our newsletter.