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Wakpa Waste Na Lakhotiyapi/ Good River and Lakhota Language: Immersion Works Best for the Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe

The Sioux have a rapidly shrinking and aging heritage speaker base and their schools have yet to produce a single fluent Dakhota, Nakhota, or Lakhota speaker. Tribal administrators demand schools produce a new generation of D-N-Lakhoma speakers yet there are not enough resources to counter the influences of globalization. Educators want to advance their language revitalization efforts but they are only provided one class a day. To better understand why educators are not meeting their goals, comparison is made to the successful programs by the Māori of Aotearoa (New Zealand) with Sioux language programs including the Loneman School, Eagle Butte, Takini and Tiospaye schools, Lakhota language and culture immersion camp at Cherry Creek, and the Dakota Iapi Teunhindapi Consotium. The research illustrates similar circumstances undergone by the Māori who ultimately adopted immersion programs and continue to produce young fluent Māori speakers. The models provided are designed to assist Sioux educators in a similar transition from bilingual education to complete heritage language immersion.


Jesse Johnson


Mary Jo Tippeconnic Fox





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