A film and class, focused on revitalizing and keeping the Lakota language alive, took over the Journey Museum Saturday.
The Language Conservancy and Florentine Films and Hott Productions have created a film in hopes to inspire young people to learn the Lakota language, the community to understand how important the language is and inspire those who know how to speak it to teach it.
'Rising Voices/ Hothaninpi' was pre–screened at the Journey Saturday as part of a tour the film has been on being screened throughout tribal schools in North and South Dakota.
Wilhelm Meya, executive director of Language Conservancy and 'Rising Voices/ Hothaninpi,' says, "There use to be 600 Native American languages here in the United States. There's only about a dozen that have a strong chance of making it, and Lakota is one of them. But it's also very close to extinction, such as most of the other languages are. We need to kind of coordinate our efforts to make sure that schools, communities and tribal governments are all moving forward in the right direction on trying to save this language."
Lawrence Hott, 'Rising Voices/ Hóthaninpi's producer/director, says, "If we do not have the means to get the kids learning Lakota and emerging schools to get the community behind it, then there won't be anybody speaking Lakota. And what happens if we lose a language? Well, the culture goes with it and all the things that go along with culture."
The group held a free class to people who wanted to experience what it's like to learn Lakota and hopefully learn a few words in the process.
If you were unable to make today's screening, the film will be on South Dakota Public Broadcasting channels Monday at 5 and 10 p.m. and Tuesday at noon.