- Associated Press - Sunday, October 15, 2017

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (AP) - The man who oversees a Lakota language program at Sioux Falls public schools is now offering Lakota classes to the public.

Tim Easter will teach one-hour classes one Sunday a month at the Downtown Library in Sioux Falls until January, the Argus Leader reported.

“If we can somehow get families feeling connected to culture and the community, then I think it could be the start of good things happening,” Easter said.

Easter is Oglala Sioux and said his mother would speak Lakota during his childhood. He decided to learn more about the language and become certified to teach it to the next generation of speakers.

“Hearing the things that my mom used to say, you know, hearing her talk with my aunts and my uncles,” Easter said. “Even as a kid, I was already interested in it.”

Less than 10 percent of Lakota people speak the language, and most of them are elders. Easter says the language was “pretty much forbidden” for years, with Native American children sent to federal boarding schools where speaking Lakota was a punishable offense.

Easter said that even after being marginalized and repressed for decades, there has been a resurgence of interest in the Lakota language.

“The pendulum has gone the other way,” he said.

He said there’s now a strong interest in preserving the language at reservation schools and in South Dakota communities, especially in the western half of the state.


Information from: Argus Leader, https://www.argusleader.com

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