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The Lakota Language Consortium is debuting the third edition of its new Lakota Dictionary.
This third edition contains 20,000 more entries than its predecessor.
South Dakota Public Broadcasting’s Lee Strubinger reports.
The previous Lakota Dictionary was published over a decade ago.
Alex FireThunder (Oglala Lakota) is the Deputy Director of the Lakota Language Consortium. He says the Lakota language is a living language and continues to evolve.
“We’ll continue to develop new words for things that we have in our life. There’s a word for cell phone. There’s a word for computer. There’s a word for car. A lot of words that we consider old words were new words at one time. A word for wagon, clocks, those are all pretty old words that were coined by our ancestors. They made them.”
The language of the Oceti Sakowin is an oral language, meaning it was never written down until the 1800s. FireThunder says other words and phrases had been around for generations and are only now being documented.
“I found this word in an old rabbit dance song…. I think it means to have a taking or a liking for somebody. That was in an old love song.”
Many children fluent the language of the Lakota/Dakota and Nakota language were chided for speaking their language during the boarding school era. Most fluent speakers are now elders.
FIreThunder says he wants to see the dictionary get put to good use.
“My hope is that these words leave these pages,” FireThunder said. “These words are here for everybody to access. But, my hope is that they use them and speak the life into them.”
The Lakota Language Consortium is also announcing new changes to its language app, which they hope will entice the younger generation to communicate with elders.
Tribes across Arizona are using Indigenous knowledge and Western thought to address climate issues.
Alex Gonzalez has more.
From droughts now synonymous with the Southwest to flash floods, landscapes are changing.
Keith Howard, a wildlife technician with the Navajo Nation’s Climate Change Program, says building trust within the community is essential for the program’s efforts to succeed.
“Finding a way to reach the people and communicate with them in respect to our traditional way of learning, and our traditional ways of understanding how the world works, is one of the biggest obstacles.”
Howard says language barriers make it difficult to translate some climate-related concepts into Indigenous languages, which can be especially challenging for community elders. Despite the difficulties, Howard says progress is being made.
According to an international assessment of climate change released last year, Indigenous communities are among the most susceptible to the effects of a warming climate.
Howard points out that most tribal communities depend on a healthy environment for survival.
He adds lack of infrastructure on the Navajo Nation, compounded with the effects they’re already seeing, have made it more difficult to adapt.
“One of our struggles is finding resources – funding, opportunities to address some of these issues to help mitigate the effects of climate change.”
Howard says that includes money for restoration projects, to replace native vegetation, and to keep streams flowing.
In the meantime, he says the Navajo Nation does its best to address climate-related issues and help the community adapt to the rate of change.
New Mexico’s Public Education Department has announced a new tutoring program that expands free tutoring for math, reading, and science.
It focuses on pre-K to 8th grade for Title One schools and tribally controlled schools.
And it is being offered virtually before, after, or during school.
Families can sign their children up for 20 hours of tutoring.
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