Dakota Wicohan is a regional non-profit language support organization that seeks to revitalize the Dakota language in Minnesota to a living language. In this grant, they will develop, digitize, and make available electronic and manual Dakota language learning resources to a minimum of 15 Dakota families and other learners broadly throughout the project year. The expected outcomes of this grant are to produce 40 sets of lists to be used in drafting of Dakota language software and to create an increased accessibility to Dakota language resources for Dakota families, as well as, create additional resources to teach and learn the Dakota language.
Minnesota’s most enduring languages are in danger of disappearing. Without timely intervention, the use of Dakota and Ojibwe languages – like indigenous languages throughout the globe -- will decline to a point beyond recovery.
These languages embody irreplaceable worldviews. They express, reflect, and maintain communal connections and ways of understanding the world. Deeper than the disuse of vocabulary or grammar, the loss of an indigenous language is destruction of a complex system for ordering the relationships among people and the natural world, for solving social problems, and connecting people to something beyond themselves.
$550,000 the first year and $550,000 the second year are for grants for programs that preserve Dakota and Ojibwe Indian languages and to foster educational programs in Dakota and Ojibwe languages.
With 206 language learners attending weekly classes, six apprentice teachers, 50 BYKI language lists for students online, and a new community-based evaluation tool to gauge language learning, Dakota Wichohan has had a fabulous year.Our progress is in no small way thanks to our partner, the Minnesota Indian Affairs Council. Withi your support in the past year, we have: Nurtured and supported the training of six Dakota Language Teacher Aprrentices (DTAs) who are all actively engaged in teaching the language and lifeways in a wide variety of settings, Completed 50 BYKI lists of everyday Dakota language for use on the computer, Launched an all-new weekly family nested language learning program, Tiwahe, Grew our language learning community 470% to 205 total learners in 2012/2013, Learned that our family learners are eager to continue learning our language - and that 73% feel they hav3e learned more Dakota while in our Tiwahe program and Developed new tools and expectations around tracking and monitoring the language revitalizations underway in partnership with our language learners.