January 24, 2009

2008 Lakota Dakota Nakota Language Summit is a Huge Success!


The Language Summit was an effort to unite the Lakota, Dakota, and Nakota (“Sioux”) oyate (“peoples”) in both the United States and Canada in a collective and committed effort to revitalize and strengthen the Lakota, Dakota, and Nakota languages.

The theme of the summit was “Uniting the Seven Council Fires to Save the Language.” Seven Council Fires refers to the Oceti Sakowin, the name used to represent all “Sioux” bands collectively. More importantly, the theme reflected the urgent need for the Lakota, Dakota, and Nakota peoples to stand together and take action against loss of their beautiful languages. 

Each day started with the entrance of the eagle staffs and a prayer from Arvol Looking Horse, the keeper of the White Buffalo Calf Pipe Bundle of the Oceti Sakowin. Afterward, a keynote speaker addressed the audience before it dispersed to breakout sessions facilitated by language educators and advocates. 

The breakout sessions were designed to expose participants to language teaching methods, models, resources, and strategies that could be used to successfully teach and learn language with emphasis on creating new generations of speakers among the youth of the Oceti Sakowin. Breakout Sessions were facilitated by Dakota Iapi Teunkindapi Consortium, Faith Spotted Eagle, Lakota Language Consortium, Earl Bullhead, Stephanie Charging Eagle, George Patton, Jim Green, Bryan Charging Cloud, Dakota Wicohan, Sioux Valley Dakota Language Committee, Almona Kills In Water, Dr. Archie Beauvais and the Rosebud Sioux Tribe Lakota Language Preservation Project, Albert White Hat, Association on American Indian Affairs Native Language Program, Alexis Nakota Sioux Language Program, Biagio Arobba, Leonard Little Finger, Jerome Kills Small, and Wilmer Mesteth.

Keynote speakers and guest speakers, such as Arvol Looking Horse, Stephanie Charging Eagle, Leonard Little Finger, Ron His Horse Is Thunder, Chief Cameron Alexis, Chief Clifford Pouchette, Chris Mato Nupa, Oswald McKay, Virgil Taken Alive, Jay Taken Alive, Ben Black Bear and Rosalie Little Thunder, generally spoke about the importance of Lakota, Dakota, and Nakota language and its survival, and provided insight on the history on their reservation, reserve, or community’s efforts in revitalizing and strengthening their languages. 

Evening events during the Language Summit included traditional hand-games, Lakota Dakota Nakota language jeopardy, and music from local Native musicians.
Also taking place at the Lakota Dakota Nakota Language Summit was the Lakota Dakota Nakota elected leadership meeting. During this meeting, elected leadership engaged in a round table discussion on what role tribal political leadership could utilize its resources and governmental policies to assist in language revitalization.

Furthermore, the Oglala Sioux Tribe Education Department held a three-day planning session for the adoption of Lakota language as an alternative criterion for meeting No Child Left Behind AYP standards.

The Lakota, Dakota, and Nakota tribes and First Nations that attended the Language Summit are the Oglala Sioux Tribe, Standing Rock Sioux Tribe, Alexis Nakota Sioux First Nation, Wesley Band Stoney Nakoda First Nation, Yankton Sioux Tribe, Sisseton Wahpeton Oyate, Santee Sioux Tribe, Ocean Man Nakota First Nation, Carry the Kettle Nakoda First Nation, White Cap Dakota First Nation, Sioux Valley Dakota Nation, CanupaWakpa Dakota Nation, Upper Sioux Community, Lower Sioux Community, Prairie Island Dakota Community, Shakopee Mdewakanton Dakota Community, Pheasant Rump Nakota First Nation, Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe, Lower Brule Sioux Tribe, Crow Creek Sioux Tribe, Bearspaw Stoney Nakoda First Nation, Chiniki Stoney Nakoda First Nation, Birdtail Sioux First Nation, Wahpeton Dakota Nation Rosebud Sioux Tribe, Fort Peck, and Fort Belknap Assiniboine.

Other tribes and First Nations represented were Sagkeeng First Nation, Delaware, Cherokee, Dine Nation, Chippewa, Ojibwe, Northern Cheyenne, Northern Arapaho, and the Manitou Rapids Reserve.

Planning has already begun for next year’s gathering, which will be held November 12-14, 2009, at the Ramkota Hotel and Convention Center in Rapid City, SD. If you any questions or would like more information concerning the Lakota/Dakota/Nakota Language Summit, please contact Mike Carlow at

Pictures from the summit can be viewed at and

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