Saturday, June 13, 2015

Native language immersion saving cultures, preserving heritage

Arabic, Mandarin, Spanish in South Dakota schools? Sure, that's cool; but, schools where students are steeped in American Indian languages are giving the next generation of Natives opportunities to preserve their cultures.

The Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Community, a tribal nation trapped in Minnesota, has bequeathed Oglala Lakota College with a grant of $25,000 to help fund the school's Lakota language immersion program.

The Cheyenne River Sioux Nation is developing a Lakota language immersion curriculum.
Lakota language immersion childcare started in 2012 with the primary goal of fostering Lakota as a first language. [KOTA teevee]
Let's see how this novel choice in education works.
The graduation rate for Native Americans nationally hovers at about 50 percent — compared to just over 80 percent for all U.S. students. But at Walatowa, the graduation rate is 91 percent — a figure that outranks the state average for Native American graduates (64 percent) and most other charter schools in New Mexico. All but five of the school’s 68 students are Native American. Students credit Walatowa’s small, welcoming community — which stresses the teaching of Native values, culture and the pueblo’s traditional language, Towa. Even non-Native students have found in the school an environment where they can thrive.
Read it here.

James Cadwell calls on Chamberlain, South Dakota to break the racism in education chain.

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