By: Thipiziwin Young
On September 10,2012, Lakȟól’yapi Wahóȟpi, the first immersion school/nest in the state of North Dakota, will open its doors. Lakȟól’iyapi Wahóȟpi (Lakota Language Nest) is located within Sitting Bull College’s Kampus Kids daycare in Fort Yates.
Lakȟól’yapi Wahóȟpi is funded through a three year (2011-2012) Administration of Native Americans (ANA) grant. The first year of the ANA grant consisted of curriculum building, teacher trainings, and setting up the classroom. The last two years is when the immersion language nest is in full operation.
Initially, the language nest will open with twelve 3-year-olds, who will attend school year round. On a daily basis, the children in the language nest will have six to eight hours of contact time with fluent and second language speakers/teachers in the Lakota language. The parents of the children attending Lakȟól’yapi Wahóȟpi will be responsible for providing a support system for the children and staff. They will be required to attend parent trainings, help with the maintenance of the classroom and assist with fundraising efforts.
The idea for the Lakota language nest began as a response to the rapid decline in the Lakota language on Standing Rock. The hope is to directly influence the citizens of Standing Rock to take an interest in the revitalization and maintenance of the Lakota language as the language is the vital key to maintaining the identity and the distinct role of Lakota people.
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