Reservation school teaches in Lakota language

Reservation school teaches students in kindergarten through fifth grade only in the Lakota language.
Published: Apr. 11, 2023 at 10:40 PM MDT
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RAPID CITY, S.D. (KEVN) - According to endangered languages the Lakota language is close to facing extinction. It also states that about 2000 people speak Lakota as their first language.

Red Cloud School, which is getting rebranded to Mahpiya Luta, is trying to bring back life to the language.

This school is located 4 miles north of Pine Ridge and has a Lakota language immersion program.

“Currently we don’t have a young population of speakers and so what we’re wanting to do with our program here is create those speakers and children who carry the language into the future,” said Randi Lynn Boucher-Giago, a teacher at Mahpiya Luta.

This program teaches kindergarten through fifth-grade students their curriculum entirely in the Lakota language.

When children start school in kindergarten they are taught to read and write in Lakota.

“We know that what we put in guarantees that our children will have a strong identity, they’ll be tied to community and land in the future and that our language will continue to live,” said Boucher- Giago.

The school also encourages the parents to speak the Lakota language at home with their children.

If the parent does not speak the language, there are free classes offered to them five days a week.