“Let us put our minds together to see what kind of life we can build for our children.”

Sitting Bull

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Standing Rock Sioux Tribe and Sitting Bull College Lakota Language Education Action Program

Central Border between North and South Dakota

imgEstablished in 1873 on a fraction of the 1851 “Sioux” treaty’s Great Sioux Reservation, which originally encompassed all of western South Dakota, today’s Standing Rock Sioux Reservation spans the central border between North and South Dakota, hugging the Missouri River in the east, and abutting the Cheyenne River Sioux Reservation on the southern border.

At the Sitting Bull College in Fort Yates, North Dakota, and at the University of South Dakota, future teachers of the Lakota language are honing their skills and working to become certified in a program appropriately called LLEAP, the Lakota Language Education Action Program. LLEAP was formed in partnership between tribal college leaders at Sitting Bull, the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe’s Education Department, and the Lakota Language Consortium, which had collaborated for several years on Lakota language textbooks for primary school students and a Lakota dictionary project.

Sunshine Carlow, Tribal Education Manager in Fort Yates, says that teachers with first- and second-language Lakota abilities requested curriculum materials for their classrooms with different levels of language instruction, and the Education Department was able to work with the Consortium’s linguists, consultants, and Lakota speakers to produce three levels of textbooks with a second edition of the New Lakota Dictionary in-progress.

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Did You Know ...

The Lakota and Dakota people call themselves "friends" or “allies” in their language, while the word "Sioux" is an abbreviated form of a derogatory word meaning "little snake people," that the French began to call the "Sioux" in the 1800s. The "Sioux" name is often used in Lakota and Dakota tribal governments' legal names—i.e., Oglala Lakota Tribe, Standing Rock Sioux Tribe, etc.—since they are tribal governments established and recognized by the federal government.

Tatanka Iyotake (Sitting Bull), Izuza (Grindstone), Rain in the Face, Gall, and other Lakota tiospaye (extended family) headmen who participated in the 1876 Battle of the Little Bighorn would eventually settle on the Standing Rock reservation after their signal victory was followed by aggressive military campaigns by the U.S. government that ended with Sitting Bull’s return and surrender from Canada in 1881.

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