By Lyla June Johnston
Indian Country Today Media Network
July 4, 2016 – The Standing Rock Lakota Nation wrapped up its 10th anniversary Lakȟótiyapi Summer Institute for language revitalization on Friday, June 24. The three-week intensive program offered an array of in-depth explorations of Lakota/Dakota language and culture such as Intensive Lakota/Dakota for Beginners, Lakota Ethnobotany, Lakota Poetry Composition, Lakota Syntax and several professional development courses for Lakota language teachers.
“The identity of who we are as a distinct people is embedded in our languages. When we are equipped with our language, we become a positive and powerful force of energy for our people and communities,” said Tipiziwin Tolman, a Master Apprentice at the Lakota Language Nest immersion preschool in Fort Yates, North Dakota.
This year’s Summer Institute was especially impactful since two respected elders and powerful advocates of the Lakota language had passed on to the Spirit World. Mr. Milton Brown Otter, a former Standing Rock Sioux Tribe councilman, and Ms. Velia Salas, a language teacher at a nearby elementary school, had both attended the annual Institute since it’s inaugural year. An honoring ceremony was held for them during the program. Their passing reminded the community that, “we have a closing window of opportunity to do language revitalization and do it well, while our speakers and supporters are alive,” Tolman said.
READ MORE: “10Th Lakȟótiyapi Summer Institute Generates Army Of Language Teachers, Learners“. Indian Country Today Media Network.com. N. p., 2016. Web. 3 Aug. 2016.